Injury means Lewis McGugan will be denied a playing return to the ground which he called home for a decade tomorrow night.

McGugan will not be in Watford's squad for the trip to Nottingham Forest's City Ground due to the thigh injury he picked up against Bournemouth 11 days ago.

The 25-year-old was born in Nottingham and came through the Academy system before going on to make 230 appearances for the first team.

The midfielder decided to leave his home-town club in the summer on a free transfer and joined Watford, where he has scored seven goals in 27 appearances.

Holding midfielder Iriney will also miss the game due to a groin injury and defender Essaid Belkalem is the only other confirmed absentee.

Marco Cassetti is fully fit but Mathias Ranegie is still not 100 per cent and is likely to again be on the bench, as is Almen Abdi.

Sannino said: "Cassetti is much fitter than the other two. Ranegie needs to do a bit more and for Almen it is different because it is a different problem and he needs to build his fitness and conditioning.

"Almen is a beautiful player with lots of talent but he has to have a [fitness] base. I am very happy though because he is starting to feel much better about his foot. I am very confident about him."

Watford will welcome back Fitz Hall and Alexander Merkel from suspension and Hector Bellerin is also available after being ineligible for the FA Cup game at the weekend.

All of the Hornets players performed well at Manchester City and when Sannino was asked how difficult it will be to pick his starting XI at Forest considering the displays of those who started at the Etihad Stadium, he replied: "I am not worried about that because my way is to pick the best XI from the training sessions. It is better to have more players to choose from rather than not having enough players.

"Don’t forget we also have a game on Sunday [against Brighton and Hove Albion]."

One of the main positives from Saturday's match was the 3-4-2-1 formation which was used during the opening hour of the contest.

Sannino was asked whether the formation could be utilised again or if it was only used because of the players absent and the fact it was against Manchester City.

He said: "The truth is in the middle, in-between. At the moment we do not have a holding midfielder available and also we were playing against Man City so we had more attacking possibilities, with two quick players. It was something which I thought of.

"We never throw away anything, we always keep the positives from performances."