Returning Cleverley keen to make telling impact

Tom Cleverley says Watford's game against Sheffield United on Saturday is "huge" as they aim to put an end to their miserable early-season form.

Tom Cleverley is looking to make a positive contribution to Watford’s relegation battle as he prepares for his first-team comeback.

The 30-year-old had made nine Premier League appearances for the Hornets this term before injury struck against Bournemouth in late October and he has been out of action ever since.

It has been a frustrating period for the man with 13 England caps as he made a slow recovery from an Achilles problem but he featured for the Under-23s against Ipswich Town on Monday and came through 45 minutes unscathed.

The former Manchester United and Everton midfielder travelled with the team to Brighton on Saturday and is now champing at the bit to regain his place in Nigel Pearson’s team to help push the side up the table.

When asked whether he feels he can contribute, Cleverly told the club’s official website: “Without a doubt. I’ve not worked as hard as I have to not contribute towards the team. That’s the plan.”

After a turbulent campaign that has seen a couple of managerial changes, the Vicarage Road outfit have given themselves a chance of beating the drop after seemingly being dead and buried before Pearson arrived.

A run of four wins and two draws in six games put them back in the mix although just two points from the past four games sees the men in gold and black sitting 19th in the standings.

They are only one point from safety, however, and Cleverley has issued a rallying cry ahead of his potential comeback, suggesting it is now or never for the team.

“We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and, as long we do our jobs, we can hold our heads high,” he added. “We are where we are for a reason and it’s not a time to start looking at our squad on paper. It’s time to get out there and put in performances.”