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'New faces' could line-up for Watford against Sheffield Wednesday but Ikechi Anya is out
Gianfranco Zola admits there could be some "new faces" in Watford’s starting line-up against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night as his side prepare to play their second game in four days.
A 2-2 draw with Blackpool on Saturday saw the Hornets extend their unbeaten run to five matches but Zola suggested he may rotate his squad against Dave Jones’ team to keep his players fresh.
"I think there is a possibility we might see some new faces, but I don’t know how many at the moment," the Watford boss told the Watford Observer this afternoon.
"We know that when we play games in quick succession we can rotate because we have a big squad with good players so we need to take advantage of that."
One player Zola said he would be pleased to see back is Jonathan Hogg, who is available again after returning from suspension, while Geoffrey Mujangi Bia could feature after returning to full fitness.
Zola said: "It is good to have Jonathan Hogg back. Obviously he is an important player for us and we will be glad to have him available again."
Almen Abdi , Prince Buaben and Sergio Neuton have all returned to training but the trio are not yet match fit and are therefore unlikely to play a part.
"Abdi is not available for this game - it shouldn’t be long before he’s back but he is not available for this match. He is training on his own and he is not training with the team yet," Zola said.
"Prince Buaben joined us for the first time today (Monday) so he is not available because he is not match fit at the moment.
"Neuton has recovered but he has trained with us only twice so he is not match fit either."
Young goalkeeper Jonathan Bond picked up an injury in the warm-up against Blackpool while Ikechi Anya also sustained a knock during the match and is struggling to recover in time.
Lloyd Doyley (calf), Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring) and John Eustace (back) also remained sidelined.
Watford’s recent run of good form provides a stark contrast to their opponents who have lost their last four matches on the bounce.
Zola said his team will be looking to capitalise on any nerves Wednesday may have but insisted the Hornets would have to be at their best to win.
"We are on a good run but in the Championship there are no easy games," he said.
"We are going to have to play our best tomorrow because they are not going to make it easy for us.
"They are struggling a bit at the moment and we need to make sure we take advantage of that so getting a goal and creating problems will be important."
Former Hornets defender Martin Taylor will be facing his old club for the first time since his switch to Hillsborough in August.
Zola added: "It will be a pleasure for me to see him - Martin is a player who has got my utmost respect."