Enormous and huge were words Gianfranco Zola used to describe tonight’s must-win game with Leicester City as Watford try desperately to apply pressure on Hull City.
The Hornets are four points behind Hull in the Championship’s second automatic place, with two games remaining, but tonight’s televised clash provides the Golden Boys with the opportunity to reduce the deficit to one point, with the Tigers playing tomorrow.
The contest has equal importance for Leicester, who are seventh and a point below the play-off places.
“It is an enormous game; we need to win to continue to put pressure on Hull,” Zola stressed.
“We know that it is a huge game for Leicester as well though and they are a very good team. So we are prepared.
“We always seem to play well against the teams at the top of the table as well so I don’t think pressure will be a concern for us.
“If we want to put pressure on Hull then we need to play well and win the game,” he continued.
“The performance is the most important thing because if we do that then hopefully we will get the three points.
“If we do that then Hull City have to think twice before going into their game the following day.”
Hull’s opponents Barnsley are second bottom of the table and without a win in five matches but they have taken points off Watford, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest in the last six weeks, which can provide Hornets fans with optimism.
Watford could have a career and life-changing eight days ahead of them but Zola claimed the training ground has been “normal”.
He added: “The morale and the atmosphere is high and that is the most important thing.”
Watford have no fresh injury worries ahead of the game but defender Fitz Hall is still unavailable.
Hall was last in action for the Hornets against Hull on April 2 as the experienced centre-half continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
John Eustace came through a midweek friendly against Dagenham and Redbridge but is not fit enough to be considered and Adam Thompson is expected to be out for at least a few weeks with a knee problem.
Leicester have won twice in their last 16 matches in all competitions but they beat play-off rivals Bolton Wanderers ten days ago and followed it up with a draw against Crystal Palace.
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said: “I’m expecting to play against a side that have got their own brand of football; their own style of play that has been successful all season.
“They have got a number of very good individuals within their team but they have, like most successful sides, a very strong work ethic, so we are going to have to be at our best to beat them but I think it should be a good game.
“Our intention is to go to win the game. It will be an interesting encounter but really it is a case of whether we can go out and perform at our maximum and do enough to win the game. They will be doing exactly the same thing.
“They will have their own way of doing it, I would imagine they have got respect for us, as we have for them, but it’s about what we do ourselves.
“It could suit both teams but like it is with most games you see, it is whether you are able to convert your chances when they come along and that is going to be the bottom line.
“Having said all that, is it going to be a 0-0 draw, 1-0, I really don’t know but I know both sides will go into the game with the intention of winning and so it is really about what we do ourselves which is important.”