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Watford ready to move on from Andre Gray controversy

Crystal Palace v Watford – Premier League – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: John Walton)

Watford assistant boss Craig Shakespeare insists the club have “drawn a line” under the absence of three key players for last week’s Premier League defeat against Southampton.

Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina will all be in contention for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea having been left out after Gray reportedly breached social distancing regulations by hosting a birthday party.

Gray subsequently described the event as “a gathering of friends which turned into a sort of football tournament” in an apology on Instagram.

AFC Bournemouth v Watford – Premier League – Vitality Stadium

Nathaniel Chalobah will feature for the Hornets against Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

The 3-1 loss to Southampton left the Hornets teetering on the brink of the bottom three, but Shakespeare said there were no recriminations and the squad will now look to the future with the trio back in the fold.

Shakespeare, hosting media duties in place of ill boss Nigel Pearson, said: “We have got to the bottom of it and they have apologised to staff and players individually and collectively.

“Once we welcomed them back, we try to get on with it as normal. They have admitted they were wrong. They have settled back into it, they know they have made a mistake and want to make up for it.

Liverpool v Watford – Premier League – Anfield Stadium

Domingos Quina has apologised to his Watford team-mates (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We have drawn a line under it, we have moved on. We have mistakes from individuals during games – they don’t mean to make mistakes, but can we rectify them? Yes, we can.

“The next chance to rectify it will be against Chelsea. And if they play their part, all is well and good.”

Shakespeare confirmed that Pearson is expected to be back in the dugout at Stamford Bridge, despite his absence on Thursday.