Nigel Pearson confident he can steer Watford to safety

Watford boss Nigel Pearson insists he can defy the odds and keep his new club in the Premier League.

Pearson, 56, is the third manager to be at the helm of the struggling Hornets this season following the dismissals of Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores.

Watford have recorded just one win from their opening 16 league matches this term and are six points adrift of safety.

But Pearson, who oversaw Leicester’s surprise survival in 2015, is optimistic he can repeat the feat in Hertfordshire following his appointment last Friday.

“Can we stay up, you’re asking? Yes,” said Pearson during his first press conference as Watford manager.

“For sure we can stay up, but we’re going to have to have a collective buy-in from everybody associated with us. The players certainly as a group, the staff around the football club.

“I’ve been introduced to a lot of the staff who work at the stadium today. This strikes me as a club with an identity that maybe we need to redefine on the pitch. But I’m confident we can do that.”

Pearson’s first task will be to take his struggling side to top-of-the-table Liverpool on Saturday.

It’s a daunting prospect for Pearson who has not managed in the Premier League since he left Leicester more than four years ago.

He added: “Our club has looked at what they feel are my strengths and they feel I’m the right person to come in. That is very reassuring for me.

“It doesn’t make my job any easier but it was very clear they wanted someone with my style to come in and galvanise the team and the staff as well.

“I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel. It would be slightly foolish of me to think there’s going to be a revolution, first and foremost it’s the mindset of the players.

“If it has been damaged and their confidence has been eroded by us not being able to find the answers this season, myself and the staff will do everything we can to help them on the journey.

“But ultimately the players will have to come to the party. They have to embrace the challenge. I know what it’s like as a player when you’re frustrated about how things are, but things can change quickly.”

Craig Dawson will be available for the trip to Anfield but Jose Holebas is sidelined through injury and Roberto Pereyra faces a late fitness test.