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Watford head coach Beppe Sannino believes putting Lucas Neill straight into his side would disrespect his other defenders
Hornets head coach Beppe Sannino believes putting new signing Lucas Neill straight into the Watford side would show a lack respect to the other defenders at the club.
Neill has joined Watford until the end of the season and the Australian captain could feature against Blackpool tomorrow.
With Joel Ekstrand suspended for the game, there is a spot available in the Hornets’ defence but Sannino stressed there are a number of players that could come into the side.
“I have a lot of choice. Tommie Hoban, Essaïd Belkalem, Lloyd Doyley and Neill could all replace Joel,” the head coach said.
“We had the opportunity to sign Lucas Neill but I am not obliged to use him in the next game. I’m looking at the next two months but he will help with his professionalism and experience.
“If Lucas Neill goes straight on to the pitch this would be a lack of respect to the players who did very well for five matches.
“We did badly at Bolton but that doesn’t mean the first player that arrives goes straight in the team.
“Over the next two months Lucas will help Watford, I am sure.”
The Hornets take on Blackpool looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat and a poor performance at Bolton Wanderers in their last outing.
Sannino apologised to the travelling fans after the loss and admits that is because “I know the sacrifice the supporters make for us”.
He hopes an improved display and victory against Blackpool will repay the fans but says his side must learn from their mistakes.
He explained: “The supporters told us that they didn’t see the same team at Bolton as they had seen in the past – the team with the right anger and hunger.
“That’s why I apologised. It can happen once but we must not make the same mistakes again. We must get back on the right road as quickly as possible.”
Blackpool are without a win in their last 16 matches in all competitions and their last league victory came on November 30 against Sheffield Wednesday.
The club need to improve their form if they are to remain outside of the relegation zone, however, Sannino is adamant form is irrelevant on a match day.
“Next time don’t bring the statistics please,” the Italian joked when told about Blackpool’s recent form. “As far as my team is concerned, Blackpool have won their last ten matches.”
He added: “Watford must not watch the opposition. Watford must only be focused on Watford. We must have the right anger and hunger in all of our games.”
Almen Abdi will again be missing as the club continue to assess his foot injury while Fitz Hall (Achilles) and Lewis McGugan (thigh) will also be unavailable.
Fernando Forestieri, who has missed Watford’s last two matches, is a doubt for the game as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem.
Following tomorrow’s match, the Hornets have a ten-day break as their Championship fixture against Charlton Athletic the following Saturday was rearranged due to the Addicks’ continuing involvement in the FA Cup.
The Hornets do not return to Championship action until Tuesday, March 11, when they visit Doncaster Rovers.
It will give Sannino a prolonged chance to work with the majority of his squad, although several players will join up with their international sides.
Dániel Tozsér, Chu-Young Park, Ikechi Anya and Joel Ekstrand have been called up to the Hungary, South Korea, Scotland and Sweden sides respectively.
Sean Murray, Tommie Hoban and Connor Smith, who is on loan at Gillingham, have been selected for Ireland Under-21s and Jonathan Bond has been chosen for England Under-21s.
Sannino has stated in the past he hasn’t had as much time as he’d like to work with his players due to the busy fixture schedule.
However, he says it’s important that his players are given the chance to rest before tackling the end of the campaign.
He said: “At the moment, my thinking is that the players have to recover from their previous efforts. We will have ten days to work between the Blackpool and Doncaster game.
“The players will have two days off after the Blackpool game and then we’re back in on Tuesday until Friday and in that time we will train.
“Then it’s the weekend and then we prepare for Doncaster.”