Work hard, improve during pre-season, tighten up in defence and create chances for Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra. If Watford are able to do that midfielder Cristian Battocchio believes the Hornets can challenge for automatic promotion in the Championship.

The 2014/2015 campaign kicks off in less than three weeks and after a pre-season training camp in Italy and Austria the Golden Boys returned to England last week.

On Saturday, Beppe Sannino’s men drew 2-2 against Shrewsbury Town in their first UK friendly match of the summer.

Watford were certainly not at their best. They were sluggish in possession and struggled to create clear chances in open play.

Due to illness and injury to fellow midfielders Almen Abdi and Sean Murray, Battocchio played the full match.

He scored the opening goal, after a neat move involving Vydra and Deeney, and says it’s important the side are able to create enough chances for the duo.

“We have very good strikers so we need to improve going forward and work hard,” Battocchio explained.

“Everyone in the team is important, we also have players like Fernando (Forestieri), (Lloyd) Dyer and Lewis (McGugan).

“But in my first season here, they (Deeney and Vydra) scored 40 goals between them. So this is very important (to create chances for them). I hope Vydra has come to help the team again.”

When asked if Watford could challenge for automatic promotion, Battocchio replied: “Of course. We have a good team and will improve every match, step by step. We’re focused on the first match of the season and will keep working towards that.”

Vydra rejoined the Hornets on loan this summer from Udinese. The Czech Republic international spent the 2012/2013 campaign at Vicarage Road and struck 22 goals in 47 games. Battocchio is hopeful his friend will be able to replicate that form.

“He’s a very good player, we know that. Last season he didn’t play a lot so he needs to show what he can do. He is one of the best players in the team and he will show something,” the Italian Under-21 international said.

“Everyone was happy (Vydra returned) because he is not just a player, he is our friend. We were in Udine together so we are very happy to see him come back.”

Battocchio has also been impressed with the Hornets' other signings this summer and believes centre-back Gabriel Tamas “will help the team a lot”.

But conceding goals, especially late in games, was a problem for Watford last season and it returned against the Shrews – albeit the Hornets were down to ten men after Fernando Forestieri suffered an injury.

The diminutive midfielder accepts it is an issue the Hornets must “repair”.

"Conceding and drawing in the last minute is something we must improve on because it’s like last season," Battocchio said.

“We are in pre-season though and we need more time on the ball and more friendly matches.”