Vladimir Ivic has insisted that this evening's Carabao Cup fixture with Oxford United will be viewed as a priority by both himself and his players.

The Hornets' main focus this season will obviously be promotion back to the Premier League, but the Serbian played down suggestions that they could be tempted to take a more relaxed attitude to the cup.

"For us every game is a priority," he said. "We will not think in this way, that some games are not a priority. Every next game is an important game and the most important game and every next opponent is the opponent who we need to respect, but we need to fight to win the game. This is my philosophy and this is what I'm asking from the players."

While Ivic did say there would be several changes to his starting lineup tonight, he kept any potential alterations close to his chest.

"Some of them [who played against Middlesbrough] will be with us, some of them not," he said. "We'll see. I know, but in this moment I cannot tell you because I prefer to keep this until the last moment before the game, to give to the XI and the squad outside before the game.

"We have a lot of players who will be with us tomorrow who stayed out of the first game and some of them will play, some of them will start on the bench. This is the period now where we need to use all of them to see their quality and their performance because for me it's very important to have in each position two players who can be competitive to work and to play and to give us their maximum."

One player who will not be able to play this evening is Craig Dawson who remains out due to an illness.

Ivic said he knew nothing about reports in the media that surfaced last week suggesting the defender was refusing to play.

"He will not be available because he missed the last four or five days<" he said.

"I don't know something about that. I know that he was sick and he stayed out in the last few days. He stayed at home to be good, to come back after this sickness that he had. This is what I know.

"Believe me, I don't know about the news about what's going on in the news. I respect all of you, but I try to get the right information from our medical staff and they explained to me what's happened with Dawson and this is what I know."