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Shakespeare gives credit to Watford players for recent upturn in form

Craig Shakespeare insisted the credit must be given to the Watford players after the club moved off the foot of the table.

Nigel Pearson took over as manager of the Hornets earlier this month and since his appointment the club have taken seven points from their last four matches and are just three points from relegation safety.

The manager was dealing with a family matter and his assistant Shakespeare took the press conference ahead of the Wolves game and said he wanted the team to push on.

When asked about the club’s momentum since the change of management, the assistant manager said: “From our point of view they (the players) have been terrific.

“That’s the idea when you come in as a new management team, the idea is to have that impact and to get results, you never know, but you’re hoping.

“We’ve had a positive impact, but we’re also aware that it’s only the start and we have to maintain the belief, the confidence and also the desire, and we have to push on because we want to climb the table.

“That’s the idea, but we know the other teams are going to be there and want to get the points as well.”

The Hornets could be without up to six players for their match against Wolves on New Year’s Day.

Craig Cathcart and Will Hughes were forced off against Aston Villa on December 28 and Shakespeare said the pair will be assessed ahead of the visit of Nuno Espirito Santo’s men.

Roberto Pereyra missed the Villa clash with an illness and is also set to be assessed ahead of the game, while Adrian Mariappa is ruled out through suspension.

Watford will have had an additional day to prepare for the match against Wolves as their last fixture was a day after the Hornets, but Shakespeare said he would like to see all clubs play on the same days.

On the additional day’s preparation, the assistant manager said: “I’d always take the extra day but we all know over Christmas the fixtures are the fixtures.

“You have to get on with it as much as you can, some have more of an advantage than others.

“I would like to see the Christmas period where everybody plays the same days. Timings can be different because of TV, I understand that but I would like to see the same days so there’s no advantage for the top teams and no disadvantage for the bottom.”