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Watford defender Fitz Hall feeling 'comfortable' and 'happy' at the Hornets
Commanding centre-back Fitz Hall believes he is the fittest he has been “for a few years” after suffering his fair share of injuries in recent years.
The 31-year-old joined Watford in the summer on a free transfer after more than four years at Queens Park Rangers.
However, he had to wait until September 22 to make his Watford debut after a minor knock in pre-season and fitness concerns meant he missed the beginning of the campaign.
Since his debut against Bristol City, Hall has gone on to make 11 appearances in the Championship and has produced a number of outstanding performances in the centre of the Hornets’ back three.
Hall has struggled with injuries in recent years but he said: “I am very happy and I feel very comfortable; this is the best I have felt for a few years.
"I think the run of games I had before I hurt my hip in November was the first time in a few years that I actually played eight games in a row.
“So that’s even an improvement in itself and I am feeling very strong at the moment.”
Watford started the season with a traditional back four but Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola decided to switch to the current 3-5-2 formation in a bid to shore up what was a shaky defence.
It is a system which is rarely played in England but the Golden Boys have adapted well and are in fine form in the Championship.
“When I first came in, the manager played it (the 3-5-2 formation) a couple times in pre-season,” Hall said. “We did start off the season 4-4-2, but we always did train using 3-5-2.
“I suppose we had a ‘Plan B’ if you like. If the game is not going for us then we’d change and it seems we’ve played a bit better with the three. “The manager has seen that and then we’ve just kept on with the three.”
With the influx on loanees from Udinese and Granada, Watford have one of the biggest and arguably strongest squads in the Championship.
There is competition for places across the pitch and Zola has not been afraid to rotate if he feels it necessary. Hall believes the regular changes to the team is working to the Hornets' advantage.
“We have loads of very good centre backs that can play in the same position, so we’re well equipped,” Hall explained.
“We’ve got a bit of rotation going on; even when we win games we change it around and it keeps everyone fresh.
“It makes everyone know that when they play, they’ve got to perform otherwise they might not get back in for a few games. But this season everyone has been performing.
“So it’s working to our advantage having a big squad because sometimes it can work to your disadvantage.”
Following Watford’s 4-1 victory over Barnsley on Saturday, the Hornets moved into the play-off positions.
Zola’s men are currently on a seven match unbeaten run in the Championship and hopes of a promotion push are gaining momentum among the fans.
However, Hall claims the players are not getting carried away by their recent form.
He said: “This season there is going to be ups and downs. We’re going to have some downs along the way.
“At the moment it’s going right for us and you know fans will be fans and get carried away with it.
“They come to see us do well and when we’re doing well they understandably want to sing about it. It is just for us to keep our feet on the floor.
“We are never going to shout and say we are getting promoted. Obviously every team in the Championship wants to get promoted but to use a cliché, we just look at the next game and if there is one game to go at the end of the season and we are fighting for it, then we’ll say ‘yeah, definitely, that’s what we’re fighting for’.
“We are just fighting for three points every game and wherever that takes us, we’ll be happy.”