It says far more about the options available to head coach Valerien Ismael than any negative reflection on the performances of striker Vakoun Bayo that the Ivorian has had to play every single minute of Watford’s three Championship games this season.

The Hornets have not scored in the last 225 minutes of league football but Ismael has kept Bayo on the field when, like in the 1-0 defeat at Stoke yesterday, it seemed obvious that a fresh pair of legs and a new challenge to the opposition defence might have led to an equaliser.

If the fans at the Bet365 Stadium thought it, and fans following along at home thought it, then rest assured that Ismael also thought it.

“It’s clear – you see the opponent has the possibility to change like he wants with so many players, and we are really tight in this area,” he said.

“But we have to wait. I have to wait. Hopefully we can get someone in.

“It all depends what there is on the market. Everyone knows that it is difficult at the end of the month, either you pay a lot of money to get the player you want or you get some players who are not able to help you straight away.

“You have to be creative and find the right way, and to compromise on the position is something that we cannot afford.

“We still have two weeks in front of us.”

Summer signing Rhys Healey has not got on the pitch in the league so far, despite being a potent marksman during his time in France, albeit he’s a player that fulfils a different role to that of Bayo or a traditional line-leading No.9.

Ismael said on Friday that Healey’s confidence in his knee after last season’s ACL injury needed to grow, and yesterday both he and Under-21 striker James Collins – in the senior matchday squad for the first time – stayed on the bench.

However, losing James Morris before half-time had some effect on the changes made after the break.

“When you have five substitutes, and a player is injured during a game, it is always a case of decision making because you have used up one substitution already,” said Ismael.

“Using one sub early makes that decision making even harder.”

Watford Observer: The head coach felt claims for a penalty for the challenge on Georgi Chakvetadze were 50/50The head coach felt claims for a penalty for the challenge on Georgi Chakvetadze were 50/50 (Image: Action Images)

Watford did have claims for a penalty late in the game when Giorgi Chakvetadze went down in the area, but Ismael wasn’t convinced.

“It’s a tough one. It was a 50/50 situation,” he said.

“If he had given a penalty he’s right, if he doesn’t give a penalty he’s right.

“It was a tough decision but we had a chance to score before with Asprilla.

“I am more annoyed about the way we played in the first half than whether it was a penalty.”