AIDY BOOTHROYD believes Dan Shittu's last two performances have been up there with his very best in a Watford shirt.

The Nigerian centre-half was restored to the starting line-up for Tuesday's 3-0 victory at Southampton and followed that up with both goals, while also helping his side to another clean sheet, in yesterday's (Saturday's) 2-0 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace.

"He's been out of the side and we've won but he's very important to us," said the Hornets boss after watching his side achieve a first home win in eight outings. "He's got seven goals now which is not a bad return for a centre-half. He's very dominant, his defending has improved a great deal and I think his last two games have been as good as they have been for us and he's always a threat at set plays.

"Obviously we're going to lose him now for the African Nations but I guess that's one of the drawbacks of having a successful team and good players. That's one of those things that we're learning as we're going along."