First Team 25/10/2019

Gray: “The Belief Is Growing Every Day”

Andre Gray believes the Hornets are more organised and well-drilled thanks to Quique Sánchez Flores, and that this approach is the reason for an upturn in confidence and performances in recent weeks.

Against Sheffield United the Hornets picked up a first league clean sheet since February and this was followed up with an away point at Tottenham Hotspur which should have been three.

“The belief is growing every day in training, when you go out there and have an understanding in your job and your job as a team it makes things a lot easier and clearer. Obviously time will tell, but there’s a lot of belief in the team to kick on and get ourselves back up the table,” said Gray.

“He [Sánchez Flores] is getting us back to basics really. I’m not saying it wasn’t like that with the other manager, but he just came with fresh ideas, formation and a different style.”

One key aspect of the Sánchez Flores style is becoming a tight unit which is hard to break down. After conceding too many goals in the opening matches, Gray believes the hard work on the training pitch is beginning to pay off.

“Defensively as a team we’ve conceded a lot of goals, but that’s not down to individuals, it’s the whole team from front to back,” he said. “We’ve worked a lot on the defence since the new manager's come in and in the last few games, barring the little hiccup last week, we're looking a lot stronger as a team.”

At the other end of the pitch the Hornets are looking to score more goals, and Gray wants to start adding to his Hornets’ tally. The striker is never one to hide away from mistakes and admits he should have finished his chance against Sheffield United. But, despite not taking the opportunity, Gray wants to get back on the pitch to make amends.

“I had a big chance against Sheffield United and fluffed my lines. It’s part and parcel of the game and that’s what happens when you are a striker, you do miss chances. It’s just about getting that run in the team and a few games on the bounce and I know then I will score goals,” he said.

“I don’t think my ratio has been that bad in terms of starts to goals, I feel like if I get a run of games I will score.”

Going into the match against Bournemouth, the Hornets are hoping for a first Premier League win of the season.

“Every game is important and it’s not just about Bournemouth,” said Gray. “If we go and win that game and then lose the next six or seven games, it makes no difference. We look at every game as important now with the situation we're in, but it does start on Saturday against Bournemouth.”

First Team 25/10/2019

Match Pack: Watford v Bournemouth

As the Hornets prepare to host Bournemouth at Vicarage Road in the Premier League, here is all you need to know about the fixture...


Watford v Bournemouth
Premier League
Vicarage Road Stadium
Saturday October 26, 3pm BST


Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Darren Cann
Fourth official: Tom Nield
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger


Étienne Capoue (back), Sebastian Prödl (hamstring) and Isaac Success (groin) all joined in training this week, while Daryl Janmaat, who went off injured against Tottenham Hotspur, is fit. Meanwhile José Holebas is suspended, having picked up five yellow cards, while Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Troy Deeney (knee) are sidelined.

The Cherries will be without David Brooks (ankle), Charlie Daniels (knee) and Junior Stanislas (knee), who are still sidelined, but Jefferson Lerma has recovered from a hip injury. Simon Francis (cruciate ligament), Lloyd Kelly (ligament) and Dan Gosling (hip) are also out.


Bournemouth sit 10th in the Premier League but could rise to as high as sixth or fall to as low as 15th depending on the weekend’s results. The Cherries were quick off the blocks this season, earning 10 points from their first six matches, but are currently without a Premier League win since September 20. The Wilsons – both Callum and Harry – are on fire on the south coast, having scored eight goals between them so far.



Won 40, Drawn 37, Lost 38

Last Six:

Jan 2019: Bournemouth 3-3 Watford (Deeney 2, Sema) (Premier League)
Oct 2018: Watford 0-4 Bournemouth (Premier League)
Mar 2018: Watford 2-2 Bournemouth (Femenía, Pereyra) (Premier League)
Aug 2017: Bournemouth 0-2 Watford (Richarlison, Capoue) (Premier League)
Jan 2017 Bournemouth 2-2 Watford (Kabasele, Deeney) (Premier League)
Feb 2016: Watford 0-0 Bournemouth (Premier League)


August 10, 2013 – Watford 6-1 Bournemouth: Troy Deeney scored a hat-trick, Gabriele Angella netted twice, and Lewis McGugan also bagged a goal as the Hornets confidently dispatched a newly-promoted Bournemouth side in 2013. It was the first time a Hornets player had scored three goals in a match in over 10 years, and Deeney would go on to score 25 in all competitions by the end of the season. The Golden Boys faced and defeated Bournemouth again later that same month, but the margin of victory in the League Cup was just the two goals.


Luther Blissett

No player has appeared more times for Watford (503) and no player has scored more goals for the club (186) than England international Blissett. The first inductee into the Watford FC Hall of Fame played a massive part in helping the team climb the divisions under Graham Taylor and eventually finish second in the top flight in 1983. The striker later joined Bournemouth and was similarly prolific, scoring 56 goals in three years from 1988-91, before eventually returning to Vicarage Road for a final spell at the club.

David James

Another England international, James is most often associated with Liverpool after making over 200 appearances between the sticks for the Reds in the 1990s. But the goalkeeper began his career in football with Watford, coming through the ranks and making his first team debut in 1990. James was named the club's Player of the Season for 1990/91 before leaving for Anfield in 1992. After appearing for several other clubs, including Manchester City and Portsmouth, James had a brief spell at Bournemouth in 2012/13, but left by mutual consent midway though the season having made 19 appearances. By this point he had already been inducted into the Watford FC Hall of Fame.

Nathan Aké

On loan from Chelsea for the Hornets’ first season back in the Premier League in 2015/16, Aké was used at left-back by Quique Sánchez Flores and was voted the club’s Young Player of the Season. The following season the defender was on loan with Bournemouth and was deployed primarily at centre-half, before signing permanently for the club in the summer of 2017 for a reported £20m. He remains part of Eddie Howe’s team to this day.


Quique Sánchez Flores:

“Four years ago when we were here, both times we played against Bournemouth the feeling I had was they have a very stable team with a very stable manager and a good idea of football. Four years later, I think it's exactly the same.

“After analysing the team, they don't change. They've changed some players, of course because it's football and little by little the squads change, but the philosophy of the club and the team is the same.

“They are a really good team, they are stable and it will be a tough match. But I think we have the possibility to get something important for us.

“Against Sheffield United I could see something similar to what I want, against Tottenham we continued, and for the next matches we need to continue these things.”

Eddie Howe:

“We were able to shut out the opposition last week [against Norwich City], but it's important that we build on that this weekend.

“We had two contrasting games against Watford last season. We had the really good win at their place and then the very entertaining draw here which was a crazy game. Vicarage Road is a ground we know very well and we got a good result there last season, but it will be tough.

“We know the start they’ve had but I think it in no way reflects on their quality. They’ve got very good players and an outstanding manager so we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“I'm surprised to see they're bottom because of the quality they have. Historically, they’ve been a very good Premier League team. They are very similar to us – they came up, consolidated and have done well every year.

“They seem to have built on the squad they’ve had and have recruited new players that have fitted in well so it’s a surprise. But I think it’s nothing permanent for them. I think it’s a temporary moment that they are finding themselves in.”