Gavin Mahon's future remains unclear but even if the former Hornets captain is not handed a contract by Watford, he will always be grateful to his good friend Sean Dyche.

Mahon has been training with Watford all summer and made his first outing for the club in more than three years on Tuesday night when he came on for the final half an hour.

The 34-year-old, who captained the Hornets to play-off success in 2006, has not played a competitive match since November 2009 due to a hamstring injury and a lack of opportunities at Queens Park Rangers, where he has been on several short-term contracts in the last couple of seasons.

Mahon is one of hundreds of players who are currently unattached, with the PFA’s list of out of contract players becoming a regular topic of discussion among supporters.

“I really appreciate the opportunity Sean has given me,” Mahon said.

“There are so many players in my position who are having to train on their own and it is not easy having to do that because you can’t judge your fitness and you don’t know what level you are at.

“So fair play to Sean, he is a good friend of mine and as soon as he knew I wanted to come down, he rang me and said ‘you are more than welcome to join in and they are a good set of lads so if you can bring in some experience and talk to them then everyone will be happy’.”

Mahon has suffered with a hamstring problem in recent times but the combative midfielder was feeling in good shape when he spoke to the Watford Observer after Tuesday night’s game.

He said: “Touch wood my hamstring has been fine so far, I haven’t missed a day’s training yet. I tested it over in France with the boys, which was hard, so it is just a matter of playing football now.”

Dyche left the door open when asked about the possibility of offering Mahon a contract but with John Eustace, Ross Jenkins, Prince Buaben and Josh Walker all seemingly ahead of him – not to mention Stephen McGinn who should return around Christmas time – then Mahon is likely to receive more first team opportunities elsewhere.

“I spoke to Sean last week and at the minute he is not short of midfielders but he said if there is something here then it is a possibility,” Mahon said.

“There are also a few other things as well so it is about waiting and choosing the right option for myself.

“I can’t thank Sean enough for this and if I do stay then I will continue to enjoy working with him and if I don’t, then I wish him all the best for the coming season.”

Mahon started his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers but left to join Hereford having not made an appearance for the club.

His 16-year career has also included spells at Brentford, Watford, QPR and Crystal Palace and believes the Hornets’ youngsters should appreciate the opportunity they have at Vicarage Road.

When asked how this Watford squad compares to others he has been involved in, Mahon replied: “What this team has is enthusiasm to learn, energy and they work hard for each other, which is a big key, especially in this division, because everybody knows how hard the Championship is.

“But with Sean’s guidance and with the coaches’ guidance – working on the tactical side of the game and knowing how to create chances and break teams down – they will do well.

“It is a great opportunity for them, I wish I was their age at a club like Watford. When I was at Wolves coming through I didn’t get a chance to play, whereas they are being given opportunities at a good club, playing at a decent standard and are able to earn a good living.”

Mahon has made more than 450 appearances during his career and hopes his advice and experience will benefit the likes of Jenkins and McGinn.

He said: “I would like to think that I have helped out. Sean said he wanted me to speak to the lads and help them, especially the midfielders, because it is not easy coming into this league when you haven’t really played many games and you are expected to hit the ground running.

“I think John Eustace is the same, he is trying to get his point and his experience across, and you need that.

“You do need the enthusiasm and the hard work, which they have got, but you also need experience as well and I would like to think I have helped with that.”