Watford selection dilemma causing Gracia to ‘suffer’

Watford boss Javi Gracia admits he will “suffer” when working out just what squad to pick for the FA Cup quarter-final against Crystal Palace.

The Hornets host the Eagles for Saturday’s 12:15pm kick-off aiming to produce a response following their Premier League defeat at title-chasing Manchester City.

Gracia has slowly seen the club’s treatment room empty, with defender Miguel Britos quickly shaking off the leg problem he picked up late on during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat.

With a full complement available, Gracia knows he will have to disappoint some players – veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes one of those hoping for another opportunity.

“It is difficult as I have all the squad ready and fit. I have to decide and suffer, and it is not easy to take these decisions. It’s my job,” the Watford boss said at a press conference reported by the club.

“I always decide thinking what is the best for the team. We have lots of options and all of them are high-quality players.”

“You know I never say my first XI (before the game) and today is not an exception. It is something I’ll decide before the game.”

Brazilian Gomes has kept a clean sheet in each of his three FA Cup appearances this season.

The 38-year-old former Tottenham goalkeeper, though, plans to retire in the summer, so could be set for a final Vicarage Road appearance if selected.

Gracia, though, insists he will not be swayed by sentiment as he plots a path towards the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

“Everyone knows how important Heurelho Gomes is for me and the club. He is ready, like the rest of the players. He is a good option, but I will decide,” the Spanish coach said.

“I have three good goalkeepers. Ben Foster is very good, Heurelho is very good and Pontus Dahlberg is as well.

“In different moments they are all very, very good.”

Gracia added: “Heurelho is a very good player, a very good person and I’m sure he will be important if he is playing or not.”

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