Watford boss Javi Gracia has told his players to be ready to compete without skipper Troy Deeney as they attempt to bring a good season to a glorious conclusion.
Deeney will miss the Premier League trip to relegated Huddersfield and the home clashes with Southampton and Wolves which follow it after failing in an appeal to have the red card he received against Arsenal on Monday evening rescinded.
Gracia remains baffled by that decision, but wants his team to maintain their standards until the 30-year-old returns, with a mouth-watering FA Cup final showdown with Manchester City awaiting them next month.
He told the club’s official website, www.watfordfc.com: “I saw the game again and it didn’t change my opinion. It’s the same. For me, it’s not a red card and the club appealed but I think we’ve lost.
“We have to play the next games without Troy, to be ready to compete without him.
“Like with the rest of the games, I never complain about the players we don’t have. We prefer to give value to the players we have and I try to choose the best XI, the best to compete in the next game.”
Deeney will not be the only man missing at the John Smith’s Stadium, with Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley, Domingos Quina and Adalberto Penaranda all on the injured list.
Indeed, Gracia revealed that midfielder Quina will not play again this season after dislocating a shoulder in training last week.
He said: “Domingos has an important problem in his shoulder,” said Gracia. “He will need some time to recover. He won’t be ready this season.”
However, there is better news of Gerard Deulofeu, the man whose goals fired the Hornets to Wembley, and Roberto Pereyra.
Gracia said: “Both trained with the team and we’ll see tomorrow how they are to play. We’ll decide tomorrow. Maybe [they can play].
“We have another training session tomorrow and we’ll decide. I’m optimistic both will be ready, but I think they are close to coming back.”