First Team 05/11/2019

Injury Update: Deeney Trains With First Team

Troy Deeney took a giant step on his road to recovery by training with the first team today as he edges ever closer to making his eagerly-anticipated comeback.

The captain joined in with the Under-23s on Sunday morning and, after coming through that session unscathed and with no reaction to his right knee, he joined in with the rest of Quique Sánchez Flores' squad and did three quarters of the session in what was a pre-planned move by the medical staff. 

The squad warmly welcomed him back to the field for the first time since August 16 and he rattled goals past Daniel Bachmann and Heurelho Gomes in the session, moved smoothly throughout and was involved in plenty of contact. Sánchez Flores is sure to provide an update in his press conference on Thursday on the likelihood of the 31-year-old striker being named in the squad for the key game at Norwich on Friday night.

But just the chance to train on Sunday and today with a vastly-experienced player, who has played 373 times for the club, has been a real treat for the likes of Callum Whelan and Sam Dalby.

“He's a great player, a great character and it was a great experience,” said Whelan, the Under-23s midfielder who joined from Manchester United this summer. “You just raise your standards as you don't want to leave a pass for him short. He speaks so much, talks you through it and that's the biggest thing you take away from training with him.”

Dalby, the Under-23s centre-forward, has said before how he goes to first-team games at Vicarage Road just to watch Deeney in action, so he was delighted to get up and close and personal over two of the last three days.

“It was really good,” said the former Leeds United striker. “It's his attention to detail and you listen to every little nugget he gives you. He gave me a tip about feeling the defender in your back and letting him hit you on Sunday and that was great. He's so helpful and can only help me improve as a player.”

Ladies 05/11/2019

Ladies Reaction: O'Leary on Chichester Victory

A brace from Katie O’Leary helped the Golden Girls to defeat Chichester City Ladies at the weekend and return to the top of the FA WNL Southern Division.

“The intensity wasn’t there in the first half,” O’Leary told watfordfc.com afterwards. “Chichester pressured really well and frustrated us, we ended up not playing the football we’re used to playing.

“We came out much better in the second half, with Helen [Ward] hitting the post and myself hitting the crossbar. I’m just glad we managed to get the win!

“We didn’t doubt we’d get that winning goal. We had loads of chances and kept pushing and battling. Towards the end we kept the ball really well and, even though there was only a one goal margin, we tried to go on and score another one.”

An impressive performance from Chichester goalkeeper Isobelle Foster frustrated the Hornets on several occasions, but when the winner did eventually come, it was one worthy of winning any game.

“She stopped me a few times, I thought I had a hat-trick,” O’Leary said. “She made some really good saves and came out of her box well, stopping us from getting in behind.

“For the winner I got the ball from a good cut back by Ryah [Vyse], got into the box, cut it back on to my right foot and curled it in. I’m just so glad it went in after the opportunity previously that hit the crossbar.

“Credit to both us and Chichester really, it was a good game from both sides. All in all though, job done.”

There was an attendance of 75 at Oaklands Park, with the majority of those fully behind the Golden Girls.

“The support was amazing,” O’Leary explained. “We’re not at home either, it’s an away game at Chichester which isn’t exactly close to Watford!

“They were cheering us on and singing throughout the game, it really helps and makes us keep going for them as well as ourselves.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to go back top of the league today. The support was brilliant and a massive thank you to everyone that came down.”

With the way the league fixtures are in November, Crawley Wasps will have a chance to go above Watford next weekend but, if they do, the Hornets can then return the favour the following Sunday.

“It’s good because it keeps us on our toes,” said O’Leary. “We know that if we don’t win the next time we play, we might not be top. We have to keep pushing and keep winning.

“We just need to keep playing our football and continue to have that winning mentality to go on and finish the job.”