New signing Alexander Merkel could make his first appearance for Watford against Reading on Saturday after being declared fully fit while the Hornets have also been boosted by the return of Daniel Pudil and Fernando Forestieri.

Merkel, who finalised a loan move to Vicarage Road last week, has been short of first-team football recently and was expected to need time to regain match sharpness.

However the 21-year-old creative midfielder is ready and, along with Pudil and Forestieri, could feature tomorrow at Vicarage Road.

Pudil has been out of action since December 21 with a hamstring injury while Forestieri has recovered from a knee problem.

There is also positive news regarding Almen Abdi's foot problem although Watford head of medical Marco Cesarini remained cautious on the midfielder's recovery.

"With Abdi, I don’t want to say anything that could be misunderstood," Cesarini said.

"There are some positives, for example he trained with us today (Friday), but he also needs to build up his fitness so he is still out."

Another Watford signing, Mathias Ranegie, was shaking off a hamstring injury when he joined the club last week.

The 6ft 5 striker has now fully recovered but is still short of sharpness.

Cesarini said: "Ranegie has been out for the last two months so we need to focus on his fitness.

"But he is not too far from being fully fit, he could be available next week. There are no injury problems with him, it is just a fitness issue."

Also nearing a return is defender Tommie Hoban. Hoban has not played since February last year due to an ankle injury but could be involved in the Under-21 Premier League Cup game against Reading on Thursday.

It is also hoped Anya, who has been out for a fortnight with a groin strain, David Faraoni, Reece Brown and Marco Cassetti will be back in training next week.

Cassetti was taken off at half-time at Bristol City with a sore knee and while he is not available tomorrow, the Italian is expected to return in a matter of days.

Essaid Belkalem (ankle) however is still out.

When asked about Reading, Watford head coach Beppe Sannino called on his team to inspire the home fans at Vicarage Road.

"Only how we play on the day will tell us if we are better than them," he said.

"I want my players to give something back to our amazing supporters and hopefully we will then have a push from them to help us win the game."