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Rob Edwards hopeful Watford can keep hold of key duo

Watford v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Rob Edwards declared he was optimistic Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro will not be sold by Watford this week after the pair helped the Hornets to a 2-1 comeback win over Middlesbrough.

Pedro set up Sarr for Watford’s first goal midway through the first half after Rodrigo Muniz had headed Boro into an early lead.

Substitute Vakoun Bayo won it in stoppage time with Pedro also involved as Watford marked 100 years at Vicarage Road in style.

Head coach Edwards knows that Premier League predators will have been impressed with the pair – who have both interested Newcastle and other clubs.

He was optimistic owner Gino Pozzo would resist any late bids but admitted nothing was certain.

Edwards said: “Time will tell and the last few weeks there has been a lot of interest, genuine interest as well. We will see how the next couple of days pan out but I am confident that by the end of the window we will be in a good place.

“They were great tonight and you could see their commitment to the club. They were celebrating in the changing room after as well.

“They are very good players and the goal really was sublime. We know they have got that in them.

“They performed well again tonight for everyone to see but whether that changes anything, I don’t know.

“Everyone at the club knows they help but at the same time we have got to be realistic about where we are at, in the Championship.

“There is the human side as well, if someone has the opportunity to better themselves, and if there is a huge amount of money it is something you consider.”

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder had found himself named beforehand as one of the bookmakers’ favourites to replace Scott Parker at Bournemouth.

But the ex-Sheffield United boss made it clear he would be staying in the north-east to carry on building up Boro.

He said: “I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got my head down and am working towards the weekend.

“I signed a two-and-a-half-year deal nine months ago so I’m deep into that and I enjoy working at this football club.

“The focus for me has been on the rebuild, players coming in and preparing the team. You can’t stop speculation – you just have to ride with it.”

Muniz, the on-loan Fulham striker, headed home his first Boro goal from a cross from Ryan Giles in the fourth minute but Watford were level 20 minutes later.

Pedro’s run down the left had Boro in knots and he cut in to find Sarr in the box. The Senegal forward, who had seen a move to Aston Villa fall through earlier in the month, turned to bamboozle a defender before slotting home.

“Everyone knows that those two players shouldn’t be playing at this level because they have undoubted super quality,” Wilder added.

Bayo’s winner came shortly after Muniz had tried to lob Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann. Mario Gaspar’s deflected effort fell kindly to the summer signing and Watford were able to celebrate.

“A shanked shot that fell to their boy and he tucks it away, it was the perfect ending for their team but it wasn’t something we deserved to happen,” Wilder said.

“I don’t think we were outplayed at all and in the second half looked the most likely to win it.”

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