Watford will go into this weekend’s away match at Derby County armed with the returning Etienne Capoue.

The Frenchman had initially requested to leave Vicarage Road after last season’s relegation, but when a proposed move to Valencia that would have seen him team up with former Hornets’ boss Javi Gracia fell through, he decided that Hertfordshire was the best place for him to be.

Head coach Vladimir Ivic confirmed that Capoue was fit and ready to play and that his return to the squad was a big boost, following a tough injury to Nigerian youngster Tom Dele-Bashiru.

The Watford boss said he was expecting big things from Capoue, who looks set to play this weekend.

“Etienne is a player who can fit in the middle of the pitch,” said Ivic. “Especially after the injury to Tom Dele-Bashiru who was unlucky, he’s a quality player and we’ll miss him a lot.

Watford Observer:

“Etienne is an experienced player who played here in the Premier League and everybody knows that his experience and his quality can give us a lot and he’s worked with us for the last two weeks and he will be ready to play.

“He’s working now on his condition and he’s worked for the first one and a half months in the other group. He joined us ten days ago and he’s shown his quality. We know what he can do and what he can give for the club and for the team. We expect from him to be ready to play and he’s ready to play and I’m sure that he will improve our game.

“We have other players in this position who are quality players like Chalobah, like Cleverley, like Garner, like Hughes who will come in the next days to be part of the team. I’m happy that he’s with us and we have one option more in this position.”

With such a strong midfield, Ivic will have some important selection decisions to make as the season goes on once he has all of his options at his disposal.

However, the head coach believes the competition is good for the team and said it was up to the players to make sure they were the ones being chosen more than others.

“It’s not a problem to manage this for me because all of them know that they are part of the team, they are part of Watford, they are part of this project that we have and we have until 40 games, all of them will play,” he said.

“Some of them will play more, some will play less, but who will play more or less depends on them.

“That means they have to show me their quality and when you have four or five players in this position and you can play three and you have 40 games, I’m sure that all of them will play.

“In this position now, with Etienne who’s come back and who’s started to work with us, I believe that we are complete and now we’ll see what’s going to happen now until tomorrow for one position we’re looking and I believe that we will do something.”

As well as the established first-team players, Ivic said he is open to incorporating the Under-23s into the team, should they impress him enough.

“We have players from Under 23s who have worked with us as part of our squad,” he said. “We have a lot of games in front of us now and I’m sure that some of them will have a chance to play. This is the policy of the club, this is the strategy that the club wants in the Championship, to give a chance to the young guys who will take part in this project and who will have a chance to show their quality.”