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Watford boss Gracia in unusual position

Javi Gracia has found himself in an unusual position for a Watford manager – he has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Watford have been dogged by injuries in recent seasons and when Gracia first took over last January there were 10 players on the casualty list.

But Gracia will pick from a full complement of 26 players for the first time when the Hornets travel to Manchester City on Saturday.

The Spaniard joked that his usually overworked medical team did not know what to do with themselves with the treatment room empty for once.

“When I arrived there were only 16 players, so to have this situation is something to be happy about, and to realise how important the work many people are doing around the team is,” he said.

“I was speaking to the medical staff, asking, ‘what are you going to do today?’. But I prefer that situation.

“The difficult decision is to only choose 18 players and put eight players out of the list. I have 26 players available. But that is better.”

Nevertheless, Watford face a tough task against the champions and have a 5-0 drubbing at City’s title rivals Liverpool still fresh in the memory.

The Hornets were behind after just nine minutes at Anfield a fortnight ago and Gracia knows not conceding an early goal will be crucial to their chances of securing a positive result.

“First of all we know it’s possible,” he added. “We know from that experience playing against Liverpool recently that it will be very demanding for us.

“But we had some chances and maybe if we don’t concede the goal the same way we did against Liverpool we can work the game, wait for our moment and then we will have some chances, for sure.

“But a lot of things have to happen to have the chance to get points from them.”