Championship know-how is something Watford lacked last season. Players who were battle hardened in England’s second tier and who have Football League experience.
So over the summer, the Hornets recruited. In came Lloyd Dyer from Championship title-winning side Leicester City. Gabriel Tamas, formally of West Bromwich Albion, was signed on a free transfer and Keith Andrews joined on loan from Bolton Wanderers.
At the age of 33, Andrews became the oldest member of the Watford squad. He’s a veteran of the Football League and has played for the likes of Hull City, MK Dons, Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion.
So he knows what to expect from a gruelling Championship campaign – those nights at the likes of Rotherham United, where you face a physical battle and have to match the opponent’s endeavour and desire.
Perhaps that is why he started in Tuesday night’s victory over the Millers at the New York Stadium.
“It’s important [to have players who know the division],” Andrews said last week. “The foreign lads have the flair and guile but you do need an older head sometimes to organise things and give a nice balance to the team.
“I think we’ve got that in this team. We have a mix of pace, trickery, creativity as well as solid pros.”
Andrews said he couldn’t judge whether Championship experience was something the Hornets lacked last season but added: “Before I signed I looked at Watford and thought they had made several shrewd signings with the likes of Tamas and Dyer.
“Vyds (Matej Vydra) coming back as well was huge because he is a fantastic player and if we can keep hold of Troy that would be a massive signal of intent from the football club.”
Watford’s aim this season is promotion to the Premier League. It’s that ambition which Andrews said made it an easy decision to sign at Vicarage Road.
Other clubs were interested in the midfielder earlier in the summer. Huddersfield Town hoped to sign Andrews permanently and offered him the club captaincy.
However, a deal couldn’t be agreed with Bolton and Andrews was left looking elsewhere.
When Watford offered him the chance to sign on loan, he didn’t hesitate.
He said: “I was very keen to come. I came down for talks and then signed on that day. I want to be part of what the club is doing.
“We’re striving for promotion and I want to be part of that. I went to Brighton last year for the same reason, to try and achieve things.
“I am not a spring chicken but I feel I’ve got a lot to give.”
Watford have made a solid start to their promotion bid. Wins have come against Bolton Wanderers and at Rotherham while Saturday’s defeat against Norwich City came after the Hornets were reduced to ten men after two minutes.
The squad has been rotated with five changes made to the starting XI against Rotherham and Andrews says he has been impressed with the depth of ability at the club.
He said: “I was very impressed. I knew it was a good squad but I have to be honest, I didn’t realise how good until I trained with the lads and saw the quality we have.
“In the forward positions and in attacking midfield, the level of quality will hurt teams this year. That is what gets you out of this division, if you have that base and you’re fairly secure at the back, you can go a long way in this league.
“You look at our squad and there are goals in abundance.”
Andrews is cautious when discussing whether Watford can challenge for automatic promotion this season.
He explained it’s “silly” to state what specific target the squad want to achieve but admitted: “A successful season means promotion.”