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Watford boss says 'excellent leader' Troy Deeney is returning to form
2:00pm Friday 25th October 2013 in Sport
Gianfranco Zola believes Troy Deeney is returning to his best form and described the striker as one of Watford’s ‘excellent leaders’.
Deeney has averaged a goal in every two games during his 12 appearances this season but has netted just once in his last nine outings.
The 25-year-old impressed in his last game against Huddersfield Town prior to the international break even though he didn’t score but he missed the 3-2 defeat to Derby County on Saturday with a calf injury.
Deeney is likely to return in the away match at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday; a game which will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Zola said: “Troy is one of those players who was so effective and important last year. Having him on the pitch is a big benefit for all of us. We will see [if he plays against Brighton].”
On the striker’s form, Zola added: “Troy started very well at the beginning of the season. His scoring form was very good at the beginning but I don’t think his performances have been as good as last year – and he knows that.
“But the last game we played against Huddersfield I saw signs of a big improvement in his performance in everything [he did]. So it was a pity he couldn’t play against Derby as I knew he was coming back [to form].
“It is no problem with Troy because I know he may have a time where he isn’t playing his best but his reaction is sharp and immediate.”
Ikechi Anya also missed the Derby defeat with a calf problem and the winger has become an influential member of the squad during 2013.
Zola said: “Of course they (Deeney and Anya) are important players. When they are on the pitch, their presence is important – without being unfair to those who played instead of them because they contributed.”
Anya suffered his calf injury playing for Scotland but Zola believes becoming an international player will benefit the 25-year-old.
The Italian said: “I think when you play for your national team it gives you more belief in yourself and you grow in confidence. The downside of that is you have more to worry about and more things to look after.
“Anya is dealing with that though because he is an intelligent person and he will become stronger because of that.”
Lloyd Doyley was rested for the Derby game after playing two matches for Jamaica during the international break and only returned to training a day before the league fixture.
Zola described Doyley and Deeney as “excellent leaders” and praised their influence in the dressing room.
The Chelsea legend also highlighted Doyley’s consistency, saying: “Lloyd has the quality which means you will have the best of him every time he plays and he doesn’t make too many mistakes.
“It will be important to have him back because he is one of the leaders.”
One player who remains a doubt is Almen Abdi.
The club’s current Watford Observer Player of the Year has not featured since August 31 due to an inflamed foot.
The influential midfielder has been in part of two training sessions this week and Zola hopes to see him in full training tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday before deciding whether he is ready for a place in the squad at Brighton.
“It is difficult to say [whether Abdi is fit enough to start],” Zola said. “He has not been training for the whole session but part of it. We need to see how he develops in the next few days to see if he has a reaction or not.
“It is too early for me to make plans but it is good that at least he is training with us.”
Nyron Nosworthy, who has been out since March following a ruptured Achilles, has been back at the training ground for more than a month and while he has yet to take part in full training, it is hoped he will make his comeback in the Under-21 Premier League Cup against Plymouth on Wednesday.
Tommie Hoban also had a serious ankle injury and has started running work but he is further behind in his rehabilitation.
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