Gianfranco Zola says Watford will have to be “very focused” if they are to continue their fine form on the road with three more points at Bristol City on Boxing Day.
Although Saturday’s win was a first win in three for the Hornets, Zola’s men will travel to Ashton Gate unbeaten in their last four away games and on the back of just one defeat in their previous ten outings.
City, by contrast, are languishing in 23rd in the Championship, largely due to the fact they have not tasted victory in their previous nine home matches.
Speaking to the Watford Observer this afternoon, the Hornets boss said: “They don’t have a great record recently at home but even Cardiff had a great record at home before they played Peterbrough [who won 2-1], so I don’t trust this Championship. I know it’s going to be a tough game and we will have to be very focused if we want to win the game.”
Marco Cassetti will miss the match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest. With the exception of the injured Lloyd Doyley though, the Hornets boss may have a fully fit squad to choose from as he revealed Fernando Forestieri will have another fitness test on his hamstring tomorrow and “might be available for selection as well”.
Long-term absentees like John Eustace and fellow midfielder Prince Buaben are now back in contention and Zola said: “They’re all doing very well and they’re all ready. The point for them is just waiting for the right opportunity because the people that have been playing have been doing very, very well so that doesn’t make it easy for them to come back straight away. But they’re good players, they will have the opportunity, they just have to wait for the right moment to come in.”
The Watford head coach had previously suggested he would seek to utilise his large squad during the hectic festive programme. That remains the case, although it remains to be seen whether there will be a number of changes to the side at City.
Asked about the possibility of rotation, Zola replied: “That’s something that we have already done previously and that’s something that we’re going to be doing. Whether I’m going to do it this game or the next, I don’t know, but obviously I know that we cannot play many games within a short period of time without any problems, so I’m going to try and use the potential of having a big squad like I have and maybe change some players.”
Zola confirmed his players will be training on Christmas Day afternoon before travelling to Bristol but like much of the country, the Hornets have had their preparations disrupted by the bad weather.
“In the last few days we had to adjust the training sessions because of the pitches, because of the weather, said Zola. “It hasn’t been easy but it’s okay. We’ve taken the most out of it.”