Watford's players have not given up hope of reaching the play-offs but Lewis McGugan has stressed the Hornets must take the form shown at "fortress" Vicarage Road on their travels.

The Golden Boys have not conceded in their last six home games - a feat never previously achieved by the club.

However, on the road, Beppe Sannino has yet to taste victory in his nine games in charge, although five of those were draws.

Watford are nine points below sixth-place Nottingham Forest but they do have a game in hand on most of the sides above them, including the Reds.

And McGugan said: "It helps if you put points on the board away from home, especially for us because we have made Vicarage Road a fortress recently.

"We would like to address the away form and we are working really hard on that and if we can start picking up points away from home then you never know."

"We have 11 games to go and we have to stay positive; you never know what can happen," he added.

"There will be teams higher in the table than us who will slip up and there will be teams below who might have a run.

"We can use this as a platform and hopefully go on a run. You never know what could happen."

Saturday was McGugan's first outing since January 18 following his thigh injury.

The 25-year-old had previously started all-bar two Championship matches this season.

McGugan excelled during an opening quarter of an hour when the Hornets "blew away" Barnsley before the performance level of Beppe Sannino's men, and the midfielder, dipped.

McGugan said: "You are kind of playing on adrenaline for a bit when you come back. In the first half I felt good and it was good to be back. If anything the half-time break didn’t do me any favours because second half I struggled to get going a bit.

"At half-time I had a few knocks and I spoke to the manager and it was about not pushing it too much and if I felt anything then to come off. So it [being substituted] was precautionary."

He continued: "It has been massively frustrating [being out injured] so I didn’t want to do too much too soon and break down again. So I am happy to get 60 minutes under my belt and it was a good win; everyone is buzzing in the camp.

"Now we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for next week."

Watford signed ex-AC Milan midfielder Alexander Merkel and Cristian Battocchio has cemented his place in the team since McGugan's injury.

McGugan had been one of the first names on the team-sheet under Gianfranco Zola but he has welcomed the increased competition for places.

He said: "We are in it together. We are a squad and having more people in more positions gets the best out of each other.

"There are no individuals here with their own agendas. Whoever is picked will do their best and there is competition everywhere around the pitch which will make sure everyone is on it."

McGugan came through the ranks at Nottingham Forest and made 230 appearances for the club during his seven years as a professional.

He was heading into the unknown leaving his home town club for the first time and admitted in the summer that he found life at Watford "very tough" initially.

McGugan explained: "All I knew was my previous club so it was a massive upheaval, especially personally as I’m living down here on my own and my missus is still in Nottingham. It was tough and it has been hard to get used to but I have come out of the other side and hopefully now I can get fitter and stronger and have a good run until the end of the season before going again next year."

"It is like any walk of life; if you are happy and settled outside of work then it is reflected in your work," he continued.

"We are professional footballers so it is something that you have to get used to and we have to deal with it when it comes up.

"I was living in the hotel for the first two or three months which was very hard but it is one of those things you have to do. Now I have my own apartment which is my home away from home and I’m more settled. I’m a lot happier now and hopefully I can kick on and have a good run until the end of the season."