Andre Gray believes he could form a strike partnership with Troy Deeney after the duo combined to help Watford secure a 2-2 draw against Southampton.

Deeney came from the bench at half-time and played a role in both Watford goals as second half efforts from Gray and Abdoulaye Doucoure cancelled out James Ward-Prowse’s double.

Marco Silva’s loyalty to deploying a sole striker has seen one of Gray or Deeney have to make do with a place on the bench for much of the campaign.

The head coach’s tactics means chances to link up have been fleeting, but, based on yesterday’s evidence, Gray’s assertion to duo work well together carries a certain weight.

“That (with a partner) is how I have played the past two seasons and it frees me up a little bit more,” Gray explained.

“It is difficult playing on your own up front sometimes and you have to do every aspect of the game. Personally I like to go in behind and I have to adapt, come short and try and win headers when I play alone.

“The way the game was going, I think we needed to change to two up top and the manager recognised that.

“We went back to basics I think and Troy won a lot of headers and roughed them up. That gave us a lot of openings and on another day I think we could have won.”

Gray’s goal was his first at home since completing a club record £18.5 million move the Vicarage Road in the summer.

He reacted well to turn in a header from close range after Daryl Janmaat’s drive had been brilliantly turned onto the crossbar by Alex McCarthy.

The strike marked the high point of a positive second half offering from Watford’s number 18 and it was, therefore, a surprise to see Silva opt to replace him with Stefano Okaka in the 73rd minute.

Gray had no issue with Silva’s decision to withdraw him and insisted Okaka’s introduction made tactical sense as Watford pushed for a late leveller.

“The manager made a decision and put Stef on. If he goes and scores the winner, nobody says anything,” he said.

“Everyone respects the manager’s decision and he obviously felt we were getting in a lot of wide positions and crosses were coming in.

“By putting Stef and Troy together he was hoping to get on the end of some of those.”

A game in which Watford failed to get going in the first half but bossed the second ended in controversial circumstances as Doucoure found a 90th minute equaliser.

The French midfielder clearly used his hand to divert the ball beyond the onrushing McCarthy, but Gray felt the slice of luck was deserved as Watford secured a positive point.

“I think we were due some luck. You have to create your own luck at the end of the day and we dominated the second half from start to finish,” he said.

“We have to take the positives and it is a good result. We wanted the three points and we managed to get the one from being 2-0 down.”