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Patrick Vieira hints at full-strength squad for Carabao Cup tie with Watford

Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic – Pre Season Friendly – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has hinted he will play a full-strength team at Watford in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday.

The Eagles were able to bounce back from an opening weekend defeat away to Chelsea with a goalless draw at home to Brentford on Saturday, but remain without a win or goal under their new boss.

While predecessor Roy Hodgson regularly rotated his squad in the competition and failed to make the third round in his last two seasons at the club, the new man in the Selhurst Park dugout is set to adopt a different approach.

“I see that it is important for us to win football matches because it will give us confidence for the rest of the season,” Vieira said.

“We are at the beginning of the season, players are feeling strong and feeling good. There are two games before the international break and we will play these two games with the best starting XI I have.”

A trip to West Ham awaits Palace on Saturday which led to predictions Vieira would use some of the club’s younger players – who featured regularly in the friendly fixtures this summer – at Watford in midweek.

Yet after Reece Hannam, Scott Banks, Rob Street and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi were all named on the bench against Chelsea, only the latter was part of the squad for the Bees match with two goalkeepers among the substitutes in a potential message to the hierarchy over the need for reinforcements.

The 45-year-old added: “The young players, they need to have a chance obviously but they need to earn it as well.

“I will use this cup game to build on the confidence and if on Sunday and Monday every player I have is available, it will be for me to put the strongest team (out) because we want to compete in this competition.”

Vieira refused to give anything away over whether back-up goalkeeper Jack Butland could get the nod in place of Vicente Guaita and knows what to expect from the Hornets after the divisional rivals clashed in pre-season.

Wilfried Zaha scored twice in a 3-1 victory but endured a frustrating afternoon at home to Brentford, with the Ivory Coast international repeatedly expressing his emotions towards referee Martin Atkinson.

The new boss and the Palace talisman also exchanged words at the end of the first half, but the former Arsenal captain praised the desire of his attacker.

“I think with Wilf, it is a package. This is why we love him and this is maybe why some people don’t like him, but I love his competitiveness,” Vieira insisted.

“He always wants to win. He will have to manage himself not to lose too much energy but I will want him to keep that kind of desire that he has on the field to compete and win football matches.”

Palace remain without Nathan Ferguson, Ebere Eze (both Achilles) and Michael Olise (back) while captain Luka Milivojevic is absent due to personal reasons but Nathaniel Clyne may return after recovering from a knock.