Saturday ended a good week for Watford’s Academy.

Teenager Albert Eames signed a three-year professional contract on Friday, Jack Grieves made his first senior start against Sunderland, and Ryan Andrews came off the bench to score the winner.

With less money sloshing around in the club coffers, the ability to develop homegrown players – and keep them – who can then progress to the play for the first team will be essential.

It was a third goal of the season for Andrews and the first time he has scored a matchwinner.

“Ryan finished the goal really, really well,” said Tom Cleverley.

“One Academy player starting the game in Jack Grieves and replaced by another who scored the winning goal.

“I was really pleased with Ryan’s reaction to starting on the bench today.”

The Watford head coach had spoken about Grieves being unfortunate not to have got some first-team minutes because his work in training had been so good.

The 19-year-old then impressed and scored the winner for the Under-21s against Coventry in midweek.

“Grievesy has been training fantastically well since I’ve come in, and he trains with a real intensity,” said Cleverley.

“I felt like we could go with two more attacking wing-backs, to get that greater attacking balance.

“We just couldn’t get any rhythm and he looked like someone who needs to learn the position a little bit, but he’s completely at the level.

“It’s been a really good experience for him, but I thought Ryan came on and responded well to being left out, and showed a lot of character.

“The responsibility to step on again is Ryan’s, but I also feel responsible to be part of him doing that.

“He knows how demanding I am of him, and I will continue to be.

“The reason I got into coaching was because I thought I could help young players, and I’m excited to work with them.”

The victory over Sunderland was one that came out of perseverance and digging a result out rather than from free-flowing technical brilliance.

“I thought we started the game well for the first 20 minutes and then gave away a few cheap fouls that broke the rhythm, and then gave up a couple of chances which gave Sunderland a foothold in the game,” Cleverley said.

“We made too many technical mistakes and were sloppy in possession, especially in the top third of the pitch.

“But on other days we might not be as good at the back and out front three will produce magic to get us out of it.

“Today it was the other way round: our defence was very good and we were sloppy in possession.

“It was pleasing that we kept them out after we couldn’t manage it against Leeds and West Brom.

“Sunderland caused us a lot of problems tactically in the second half, and technically they’re a very good side.

“We showed a bit of grit to see it out and make it five clean sheets in eight.”