In-form striker Matej Vydra is fit and available to lead the Watford attack in front of the TV cameras tomorrow when the Hornets take on Crystal Palace.
Vydra was a doubt for Watford’s important clash with promotion-rivals Palace as he was playing for the Czech Republic in Turkey last night – with the game finishing less than 48 hours before tomorrow’s match.
However, the Pozzo family arranged for a private plane to pick up Vydra to ensure the striker returned to England as quick as possible.
The 20-year-old, who has been pivotal to the Hornets’ promotion push with 11 goals in his last six league starts, was back at the club’s training ground today and whilst he did not take part in full training, he will be available tomorrow.
Boss Gianfranco Zola said: “Matej hasn’t been training [with the squad], he has been doing a rest (recovery) session and having a massage because he came back very late last night.
“He is certainly available though. I haven’t made a decision [on whether he will play] yet but he is available for selection.”
Nyron Nosworthy was another Watford player on international duty this week but Zola confirmed he will certainly miss the Palace match as Jamaica’s game in Mexico took place in the early hours of this morning GMT.
Joel Ekstrand pulled out of Sweden’s match with Argentina due to the knee injury he suffered in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Bolton Wanderers and remains a doubt for the match.
However, fellow centre-half Tommie Hoban is available again following an Achilles problem and played 90 minutes for Republic of Ireland Under-19s on Tuesday night.
Zola was both grateful and disappointed with the Football Association of Ireland regarding Hoban.
The governing body agreed to release Hoban early because of the Palace match because the Under-19s had another game tonight, but Zola admitted he only expected the young defender to play an hour against Czech Republic, not the full match.
Zola said: “Obviously Tommie hadn’t been training with us for a long time and the reason why we allowed him to play with the national team was because we wanted him to get minutes in the legs. So he’s available for selection again after he trained with us this morning.”
Connor Smith, Ikechi Anya and Neuton are the only players ruled out of tomorrow’s game due to injury.
At the weekend, Zola admitted Watford were going to be “penalised” because of the lack of time between his players’ international matches and the Palace fixture, which was brought forward to accomodate Sky Sports.
Today he reiterated it “wasn’t ideal” but said: “I’m not complaining. Obviously I want to have international players; the downside is obviously when they go out. It is difficult because you get the players at the last minute and some of them, like Vydra for example, hasn’t trained at all with us this week.
“That is the downside but I think it is the same problem all teams have so we can deal with it,” Zola added.
Fourth-placed Watford are one place and a solitary point ahead of Ian Holloway’s Palace, whose 2-1 victory at home to Charlton Athletic was their first win since New Year’s Day.
The Eagles, who signed former Hornet Kevin Phillips on loan last week, have not won on the road in seven matches, with their last victory coming at bottom-of-the-table Peterborough United on November 10.