Watford v Brighton And Hove Albion Team News
Javi Gracia has hailed “quality” signing Danny Welbeck, but admits the striker is unlikely to feature in Watford’s season-opener against Brighton on Saturday.
The former Manchester United forward, whose career has been blighted by injury, was released by Arsenal at the end of last season and was snapped up by the Hornets this week.
He did not play for the Gunners again after breaking his ankle before Christmas in a Europa League group game against Sporting Lisbon and it’s now hoped Watford will be able to get the best out of him.
Despite the player’s injury record, Gracia was not overly concerned with his fitness before he admitted Welback was unlikely to feature against the Seagulls.
But fellow summer signing Craig Dawson is expected to make his debut on the opening weekend, after joining from West Bromwich Albion, and so too could deadline-day capture Ismaila Sarr.
The Senegal winger cost a reported club-record fee of £30million to sign from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes and has been welcomed to Vicarage Road by club captain Troy Deeney.
“It's a huge statement and a huge signing for the club. He seems a real nice young kid who wants to play football. There will be expectation and pressure with the price tag, but I wish him all the best and I'll definitely help integrate him.“
— WD18 (@WD18fans) August 9, 2019
Watford began last season with four straight league wins and Gracia wants his side to take the same positive mentality into the new campaign.
New Brighton boss Graham Potter will stand across from Gracia in the technical area as he makes his top-flight managerial debut after replacing the sacked Chris Hughton at the Amex Stadium in May.
The 44-year-old spent last season with Championship club Swansea City, having previously led Ostersund from the fourth tier of Swedish football to the Europa League during his first managerial role.
The Seagulls have backed Potter in the transfer market to the tune of £60million.
Defenders Adam Webster and Matt Clarke, winger Leandro Trossard and striker Neal Maupay have arrived for significant fees, while the deadline-day addition of Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy on a season-long loan could be the missing piece in the jigsaw.
Brighton will be without defender Ezequiel Schelotto and winger Jose Izquierdo for the opening match of the campaign in Hertfordshire, as well as midfielder Yves Bissouma, who has a shoulder problem.