First Team 12/12/2019

Team News: Liverpool

Nigel Pearson revealed Craig Dawson will be available for his first match in charge of the Hornets, while there will be late checks on other players before Saturday’s trip to Anfield.

“We’ve got one or two players that we’ll have a look at tomorrow to see if they’ll be available over the weekend,” he said. “Dawson has trained this week and is available.”

Roberto Pereyra will be touch and go, revealed the new Head Coach, while Pearson is also keeping an eye on his left-back situation.

“Pereyra, who played last week, we’ll look at tomorrow. Holebas will not be available and we’ll review Masina again in the morning,” he said.

The Head Coach also updated on the longer-term injuries as rehab continues at London Colney.

“Of our long-termers, Danny Welbeck is making good progress and Tom Cleverley is making good progress too,” said Pearson.

“We’ve had one or two long-term injuries which are making good progress, and then we’ve got the normal situation with players who have played and taken part and we’ll monitor and make a decision tomorrow.”

First Team 12/12/2019

Pearson: “Can We Stay Up? Yes”

Nigel Pearson has no doubt that this football club can avoid relegation and retain their place in the Premier League.

“Can we stay up, you’re asking? Yes,” he said.

Before speaking to the press on Thursday for the first time as the Hornets' Head Coach, Pearson took time to tour Vicarage Road and introduce himself to each member of the stadium staff.

After his media duties were over, he sat down with dozens of supporters to meet them personally for a casual chat.

Pearson did this because he understands the family ethos which Watford FC has been built on since Graham Taylor and Sir Elton John laid the foundations in the 1970s.

Now he wants to translate that onto the pitch.

“We can stay up, for sure we can stay up, but we’re going to have to have a collective buy-in from everybody associated with us,” he emphasised.

“The players certainly as a group, the staff around the football club. I’ve been introduced to a lot of the staff who work at the stadium today.

“This strikes me as a club with an identity that maybe we need to redefine on the pitch. But I’m confident we can do that, for sure.”

The first step towards this change is ensuring each and every member of the team is up for a fight and believes they can turn things around.

“I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel, it would be slightly foolish of me to think there’s going to be a revolution, first and foremost it’s the mindset of the players,” he said.

“If it has been damaged and their confidence has been eroded by us not being able to find the answers this season, myself and the staff will do everything we can to help them on the journey.

“But ultimately the players will have to come to the party. They have to embrace the challenge. I know what it’s like as a player when you’re frustrated about how things are, but things can change quickly.”

Pearson has pulled off great escapes before, he knows how to build a spirit and community in a football club, and he is confident of doing just that at Vicarage Road.

“Our club has looked at what they feel are my strengths and they feel I’m the right person to come in,” he said. “That is very reassuring for me, it doesn’t make my job any easier but, speaking to the club before I came in, it was very clear they wanted someone with my style to come in and galvanise the team and the staff as well.

“[I bring] a very open-minded view on bringing people together, being as inclusive as possible but actually giving distinct messages and showing leadership, because more than anything I think that is what is required at this moment in time.”