Watford return to action after the international break and make two changes for this afternoon’s visit of basement club Barnsley to Vicarage Road, one of which is both significant and unwanted.

Skipper Jay DeMerit has failed to shake off the groin injury he sustained while away with the USA and so, with no loan signings made in time, youngster Dale Bennett makes his first senior start alongside new captain Adrian Mariappa.

Malky Mackay’s other adjustment from the side that was pegged back to a 1-1 draw by a last-gasp equaliser at Swansea City sees John Eustace came in for Marvin Sordell. The consequence of that is Henri Lansbury is pushed up from central midfield to play as a support striker off Danny Graham.

New Barnsley boss Mark Robins, meanwhile, has made no fewer than five changes from the 3-1 home defeat to Reading that cost Simon Davey his job.

David Preece replaces Luke Steele in goal, while Bobby Hassell, Watford old boy Martin Devaney, Anderson Da Silva and O’Neil Thompson are also included at the expense of Hugo Colace, Mounir El Haimour, Daniel Bogdanovic and Jon Macken.

Watford: Loach; Hodson, Bennett, Mariappa, Doyley; Cleverley, Jenkins, Eustace, Cowie; Lansbury; Graham. Substitutes: Harley, Lee, Hoskins, Ellington, Bryan, Sordell, Oshodi.

Barnsley: Preece; Kozluk, Moore, Foster, Hassell; Campbell-Ryce, Hallfredsson, Da Silva, Devaney; Thompson, Gray. Substitutes: Colace, Hume, Odejayi, Macken, El Haimour, Hammill, Rusling.