Can Deeney spark Watford into life?
Watford captain Troy Deeney is making good progress in his recovery from knee surgery, but can his impending comeback turn the club's fortunes around?
Deeney featured in the opening two matches of the Premier League season against Brighton and Everton, both ending in defeat, but later revealed he was playing through the pain barrier.
The 31-year-old, who has been at Vicarage Road since arriving from Walsall in 2010, was hampered by a knee issue and the club made the decision to send him for an operation, which subsequently ruled the skipper out for “several weeks”.
During his absence, Watford have failed to pick up a single victory from six attempts, leaving the club rock-bottom of the standings with just three points to their name.
The Hornets sacked Javi Gracia during the September international break, bringing back former boss Quique Sanchez Flores, but the returning Spaniard has taken just two points from 12 on offer.
Watford could be handed a boost in a couple of weeks after Deeney, who is eager to add to his 373 appearances for the Hertfordshire outfit, revealed he has a return date in his head.
“I know when I’m aiming to be back,” he told the club’s official website. “It’s not too far away now. I’m just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They are holding me back for my benefit, but when they let me go there will be no stopping me.”
Deeney has never been the most prolific, with 13 goals the most he has scored in a single Premier League season, but his presence on the pitch and leadership qualities are exactly what the Hornets need right now.
The captain is never one to shy away from a challenge and he has a huge impact on his team-mates, who have full respect for the striker.
It also cannot be stressed enough how good Deeney’s hold-up play is. He is a constant menace to defenders, using his physicality to his advantage, while the skipper is fantastic at bringing others into the game.
Watford need a bit of old-fashioned grit in their team right now if they are going to climb out of the relegation zone, and Flores will be eager for Deeney to get back to full fitness soon.
The Hornets return to Premier League action on Saturday when they make the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to take on struggling Spurs, who were thumped 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League before losing 3-0 at Brighton in the league prior to the international break.