Watford had to settle for a draw in their opening game of pre-season as Javi Gracia took the opportunity to give two teams a taste of match action in a 1-1 draw against FC Koln in Austria.

Andre Gray gave the Hornets a sixth-minute lead in Kitzbuhel, but having made 11 changes at the interval the head coach watched his side get pegged back 11 minutes after the resumption through Jhon Cordoba.

New signings Adam Masina, Ken Sema and Ben Wilmot all played 45 minutes, as did Ben Foster in his first appearance back in a Watford goalkeeper shirt following his successful two-season loan spell at Vicarage Road from 2005 to 2007.

The second half also saw Tommie Hoban feature as the centre-half seeks to again kick-start a career that, with the exception of a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers in the 2016/17 campaign, has been decimated by injury in the past three seasons.

He was deployed in an unfamiliar central midfield partnership alongside Wilmot as Gracia switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation after the break, having started with a 4-1-4-1 shape.

After Gray had set up Richarlison to force the Koln goalkeeper into an early save, the Brazilian returned the favour, supplying the pass for the Hornets striker to break the deadlock after Will Hughes had won possession in midfield.

Chances were then thin in relatively short supply until Christian Kabasele was called upon to deflect a shot from Marcel Risse over the bar as the German side, who were relegated from the Bundesliga last season, had their first effort of note.

Roberto Pereyra had an opportunity to double Watford’s advantage shortly before the break when his shot was saved.

Wholesale changes then ensued for the Hornets, who were to have the first effort after the break when the keeper dealt with a Troy Deeney strike from 20 yards after Jose Holebas touched a free-kick to his teammate.

But after Dodi Lukebakio had appeared to have been pulled down on the edge of the box – Deeney setting the Belgian away – Koln got back on terms when Cordoba converted after a low cross from the left had not been cut out.

After Kiko Femenia had seen a low delivery flash across the six-yard box, both sides were to have opportunities to snatch a winner.

First, Colonge forward Simon Terodde clipped the ball narrowly wide after being put through one-on-one on Heurelho Gomes’ goal, before Watford went close when Lukebakio curled an effort narrowly wide of the target.

Watford play their second game in Austria on Saturday when they face Fortuna Dusseldorf, kicking off at 2.30pm UK time.

Watford first-half XI: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Masina; Capoue; Sema, Hughes, Pereyra, Richarlison; Gray.

Watford second-half XI: Gomes; Femenia, Mariappa, Britos, Holebas; Wilmot, Hoban; Lukebakio, Sinclair, Success; Deeney.