Nigel Pearson is going into tomorrow’s hugely important game against West Ham United knowing that both Watford and their opponents are fighting for more or less the same thing.

Only the Hammers’ superior goal difference separates them from the Hornets, with just three points between the two teams and the relegation spots, and a win could well be enough to clinch Premier League survival, with just two games remaining after this round of fixtures.

Pearson is expecting a tough match against David Moyes’s side, who have picked up important wins in their recent fixtures, with both sides in touching distance of survival.

“They’re doing what we’re doing, that’s fighting for their lives,” said Pearson. “It’s what I would expect. They’ve got good players, I think they’ve found some decent form of late and we know it’ll be a tough game. We’ve managed to secure two wins in the last week as well in difficult games ourselves. We’ve won two games 2-1 and been behind in both games so we’ve had a bit of an uphill task in that sense, but the players have dealt with the situation well and I’m sure David will be expecting a tough game in the same way that we’re expecting a tough game from West Ham.”

While the game is clearly of great importance, Pearson has urged his players to remain calm throughout in their pursuit of the points they need to ensure their top flight survival.

However, the Watford head coach wants to make sure they don’t mistake calmness for being overly relaxed.

“On the face of it, there’s an awful lot riding on it but it’s also important that our players are able to go out there and be able to free themselves and play,” he said. “When you’re under pressure, that can certainly affect lots of different aspects of performance, but collectively we’ve shown a real resilience in the last week and that always helps individuals to come through tough times as well.

“The emphasis of the game tomorrow will be that we need to perform well as a team, we need to be calm enough, but also calmness doesn’t mean that you don’t play with a passion, a drive and a commitment, it’s getting the balance right, but we know it’s a big game for us.”

The Hornets are fortunate to be going into the game with no new injury problems, despite captain Troy Deeney limping away the win against Newcastle with his knee strapped up.

Pearson explained the number nine’s problem is a manageable one and that Deeney is keen to play his part.

“We’ve got a few players that we’ll assess today and tomorrow and go from there, but we’ve generally speaking been okay,” he said. “There’s nothing really new but like I say, it’s more of a check on players today and then tomorrow.

“Troy’s got an on-going problem like a lot of players have and I suppose the choice is whether you want to play or not. It’s something that he’ll probably have for the rest of his career in terms of managing what’s essentially a grumbly knee. That’s not a medical term of course, but he’s very keen to play and we want as many players available as possible. When you get to this stage of the season, and especially with the types of pressures that we’re under, when players show a keenness to be a part of it, I think that’s really good. He’s still a player who we would prefer him to be as close to 100 per cent as possible, like everybody else.”