Watford head coach Javi Gracia has spoken highly of this Friday's opposition manager, Neil Warnock and has tried to convince his own players they need to win the match as much as their hosts do.

Cardiff are sitting perilously close to the Premier League relegation zone, while the Hornets are looking comfortable in eighth on 37 points.

However, Gracia wants his side to remain ambitious in their pursuit of a strong finish to the season.

He said: "You never know what's going to happen, we know Cardiff needs the points, but I want to convince my players we need them as well and we have to show it if we want to win.

"I don’t know how difficult it is for him [Warnock], but I know how difficult it is for us to win on Friday.

"They are in their best moment of the season cause they won two games, playing there will be difficult for us.

"His experience and quality helps him. Cardiff have changed something with the team, they have another balance and now I think they are competing better."

Recent reports suggest that Watford skipper Troy Deeney was the subject of a transfer bid from the Bluebirds in the summer, but Gracia is pleased to still have his captain playing for him.

He said: "I really don’t know what happened last summer, but what I can say is the way I see Troy Deeney train every day and as you know, he's the captain, he's one of the most important players for us and he shows his commitment, his ambition and desire in all the games."