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Fitz Hall fit to return for Watford as Lloyd Doyley and Jonathan Hogg miss Blackpool trip
Fitz Hall has provided Watford with a timely boost as the commanding centre-half should be fit to start against Blackpool and replace the injured Lloyd Doyley.
Doyley has quickly become an established member of the Hornets’ back three but the 29-year-old was forced off last weekend with a calf injury.
Head coach Gianfranco Zola confirmed: “I do not think Lloyd will be playing on Saturday but his injury is not as bad as we thought. Hopefully he will be back in training next week.”
With Nyron Nosworthy, Neuton and Doyley out injured, the news of Hall's return to fitness following his hamstring injury is welcome news for Zola.
“Fitz Hall is fine and has trained a few times so he should be available,” the Italian confirmed.
Watford played a behind-closed-doors friendly with Brighton and Hove Albion midweek (see Page 55) but Zola said there were no fresh injuries.
He added: “I do not think Almen Abdi will be available for this game, hopefully he will train next week.
“Prince Buaben trained with others for the first time today (Thursday) and he should be back involved fully on Monday.
“Neuton will train with us tomorrow (Friday) but obviously he hasn’t been training so he won’t be available.”
Another player who certainly won’t feature at Bloomfield Road is Jonathan Hogg.
The combative midfielder has missed just one game this season – the 2-2 draw with Bristol City in September – but is suspended and Zola admits he will be hard to replace.
He said: “Jonathan has been very impressive for us this season. We will miss him because of the work he puts in for the team.
“We will try to find a player who can give the team the same qualities. It will not be easy but we will look to do that.”
Watford switched to a 4-3-3 formation for the second half against Wolverhampton Wanderers but have been predominantly using 3-5-2 in recent months.
Zola has admitted players such as Sean Murray and Ikechi Anya have suffered because of the new system in the past and summer signing Geoffrey Mujangi Bia is the latest one to be added to that list.
The former Wolves loanee has been injured for most of his time at Vicarage Road but is fit once again and scored with a 25-yard strike in this week’s friendly.
However, Zola said: “His fitness is much better now but his situation is the same as players like Ikechi. We have changed the system and he is one of those who have been penalised because of it.
“He is trying to adapt to the new system and he is doing better. If he can fit into the new system then he will have his chance.
“He scored in the friendly in the week and showed he has potential but whether he is ready to play in the new position and system, I am not sure. I will have to consider it.”
Blackpool are three points and one place behind Watford, who are 11th, and have drawn the first two games under new manager Michael Appleton, against Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers.
Zola stated: “We will pay respect to them and what they do, and we will be aware of the changes they may have made since the new manager arrived. But it is important that we focus on how we play.
“Whilst you must pay respect to the opposition, it is important we do the normal things that we do on the pitch and the problems we can cause.”
Blackpool will be without two of their regular starters in Matty Phillips and Gary Taylor-Fletcher through injuries but apart from that, they have a fully fit squad.
Former Watford striker Kevin Phillips started the last match following injury and could do the same again, however, Pool did sign Wes Thomas from Bournemouth on loan until January 1 yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.