Watford head coach Nigel Pearson has backed Troy Deeney to once again succeed from the penalty spot following his miss against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The Hornets skipper had the chance to win the match against Spurs in the early kick-off, but instead his effort was kept out by goalkeeper Paolo Gazzaniga. 

Nevertheless, Pearson believes Deeney is the type of player who thrives under pressure and said that, should a penalty be awarded in this evening's game against Aston Villa, even at the Holte End, he would still back his captain to rise to the challenge.

"I would suspect that Troy is actually hoping that happens," Pearson said of a hypothetical chance to score the winner from the spot in front of Villa's often noisiest stand. 

"He is motivated and he's a player who I think regardless of how other people see him, okay he didn't convert the penalty at the weekend, but I think he thrives very much on pressure, he enjoys being involved in a challenge and I think that's a big part of his character. So he, like the rest of the players who continue to have a big role to play in trying to turn our fortunes around this season, I'm pleased he's available.

"If he does get a lively reception it's something he'll thrive on really as much as anything."

A win against Villa this evening could see Watford climb as high as 15th, depending on results elsewhere, however Pearson said his priority was not losing against a relegation rival in what he described as another big game.

The head coach said he did not want his players to think too much about the occasion of facing a relegation rival and instead just hopes they focus on doing their jobs.

"[It's a] game that both sides will want to win for sure, but it's also a game in which we don't want to get beat as well," he said.

"I think that's pretty much stating the obvious in the sense that when you play sides that are in and around your own situation, the benefits of winning are huge and we go into every game with our intention to try and win the game. It'll be another big game for us but I think they've all been quite significant fixtures for us over the last few weeks, so we have to manage the game itself and not get too bogged down with how games are billed and how they're built up because the players have to go out and perform and that's really the bottom line as far as we're concerned."