Watford were unable to maintain their 100 per cent pre-season record but they did keep a third successive clean sheet following a 0-0 draw with Rubin Kazan in Austria.

In a game of few chances, it was the Hornets who came closest to securing the win when Lloyd Dyer hit the crossbar early in the second half.

Beppe Sannino once again chose to start the third of Watford’s pre-season friendlies with a 4-3-3 formation against the side who finished ninth in the Russian Premier League last season.

Fresh from moving back to Vicarage Road on a two-year loan deal, Daniel Tozser started in his customary central midfield role while Fernando Forestieri was chosen alongside Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra in attack.

The Hornets had their first opportunity in the fourth minute when Lewis McGugan went close from a free-kick after Daniel Pudil had been upended as he attacked down the left.

It was from that side of the pitch that Kazan had an opening in the 15th minute when Kamil Mullin broke forward but he was denied by a decent save from Heurelho Gomes.

Deeney did have the ball in the net for the Hornets nine minutes later but this was ruled out before, at the other end of the pitch, a shot flew wide of Gomes’ post.

Neither side was able to make the breakthrough before the interval though, as Sannino shuffled his pack at the start of the second half, making four changes.

Joel Ekstrand replaced Gabrielle Angella, Almen Abdi came on for McGugan and Forestieri and Vydra made way as Ikechi Anya and Dyer came on to support central striker Deeney.

And it was one of those replacements, Dyer, who went close to giving Watford the lead after 52 minutes when he struck the bar following a fine move from Sannino’s men that saw the ball switched from the right side of the pitch to the other.

Deeney forced the Kazan keeper into a save shortly before the hour mark and he was then replaced by Mathias Ranegie while Sean Murray came on for Tozser. Tommie Hoban was introduced for Gabriel Tamas for the final 15 minutes as the Hornets switched to their more recognised 3-5-2 shape.

Another change saw Diego Fabbrini come on for Cristian Battocchio with around eight minutes remaining as opportunities remained at a premium with neither side able to break the deadlock.

However, the Hornets - whose performance level had improved after the break - did have a couple of late chances with Pudil firing wide before he was replaced by Josh Doherty while Fabbrini had an effort blocked.

The Hornets are back in action tomorrow when they play their final match in Austria against FC Chemnitzser at 5pm local time.

Watford: Gomes; Doyley (Brown 84), Tamas (Hoban 74), Angella (Ekstrand HT), Pudil (Doherty 86); Battocchio (Fabbrini 83), Tozser (Murray 63), McGugan (Abdi HT); Forestieri (Anya HT), Deeney (Ranegie 75), Vydra (Dyer HT).