Ben Foster has reflected on derbies he has previously taken part in ahead of Watford's first game with Luton Town in 14 years and says supporters were taken for granted as he prepares for a derby behind closed doors.

The veteran goalkeeper is the only man to have featured in the previous game between the two sides to still be actively playing and, before this weekend's match, he spoke about how supporters make derbies such big occasions and why this one will not be the same without them.

"I can't fully remember the atmosphere, I can just remember it being a bit naughty," he said of the last time he came up against the Hatters.

"I've played in the Manchester derby, the 4-3 one, which they love to keep putting out on Sky, which I had a stinker in and I thank them every time it comes back on because it's horrible to remember. I played in some naughty Villa Birmingham derbies, Wolves West Brom derbies which are a bit spicy and hopefully it'll feel the same as them because there's nothing better than playing in them derbies because that atmosphere is what you live for.

"It's not going to be the same because of having no fans and that's something that has been so evident over the last six or eight months, that no fans in football clubs, it's heart-breaking, not only for the fans, but the players as well.

"I think this whole episode has taught us so much about how much we don't really appreciate the fans. Before this happened, it was taken for granted that stadiums would be full and people would be paying for this and that, but what you can't put a value on is the atmosphere, how much passion the fans bring and how much it actually means to them. As players now, it just doesn't feel the same anymore."

Prior to the 1-1 draw with Luton at Vicarage Road, Foster also took a trip to Kenilworth Road to play in the 2-1 win, with Darius Henderson and Malky Mackay scoring for the Hornets that day.

That was the keeper's first experience of the rivalry between the two sides and it is one he has not forgotten about.

He has been taking inspiration from club staff members this week to build himself up for the occasion.

"There's nothing quite like going away to your local rivals in a small stadium, very close to the pitch and you saw the vitriol that you face from the fans, that was the eye opener," he said. "Once we got back to Vicarage Road later in the year, I already knew what to expect, I knew what was coming, so that sort of opened my eyes to how fierce the Watford Luton derby is.

"You've got the staff behind the scenes and the media team, people like that, these are the games they live for," he said. "They've been at Watford all their lives, massive Watford fans, and it's sort of etched all over their faces in the build up to this game and I think people like that have a massive bearing.

"These are the guys that you need to talk to to get an understanding of how much this means to the fans. We've got to do our part as experienced players to try and get it into the younger lads about how much it actually means."