Watford manager Javi Gracia confirmed yesterday that key player Abdoulaye Doucoure was fit and able to start in Watford's upcoming clash with Brighton on Saturday.
Gracia also commented on other injury news, including Doucoure's fellow midfielders Nathaniel Chalobah and Gerard Deulofeu still being sidelined.
Doucoure ready to start
The big news coming from the press conference was player of the season Abdoulaye Doucoure's availability. For all pre-season matches, Doucoure has been unavailable due to injury; so for Gracia to confirm that he is indeed ready for the match is a huge bonus for the squad.
"Doucoure is fit," stated Gracia "and in a good condition to play."
The news will bring smiles to Watford fans' faces, after a disappointment on deadline day. It also means that, whilst the first team is not nearly full-strength, there is some proven talent available for use in the midfield area.
Doucoure signed a 5-year-deal with Watford earlier in the week - to rid the fans of any speculation about him leaving.
Injuries to the midfield line
Gracia also gave updates on further players who are currently injured and unable to make the game on Saturday; he confirmed that Tom Cleverley and Stefano Okaka are in the "same place as they last were last season", and "are injured at the moment".
He also spoke of Gerard Deulofeu, who signed for the Hornets earlier in the summer: "He has started to train with the team in pre-season, but last week he had a little problem and for Saturday I don't think he'll be ready."
Chalobah seems to be close to a return, but "needs more time" still, according to the manager.
His final injury update came to new signing Ben Wilmot - who has impressed during pre-season - from Stevenage, who "had a little problem with his knee".
Excluding Okaka and Wilmot, the rest of the injuries all belong to Watford's midfield line - which may explain the large number of midfielders that the Hornets were linked with during the last few days of the transfer window. These injuries mean that Brighton will be facing a weaker midfield line when they arrive at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Gracia's view on the current team
Gracia was also asked about his thoughts on the team that Watford have at the moment, and he expressed a massive show of faith in the players.
"I prefer to spend my time with the players we have," Gracia explained, "for me the players we have at the moment are the best, and they have to be able to convince themselves that they are the best, that they feel proud to belong in this club, in this squad and that they give 100%".
Gracia also showed unity between himself and the players, saying "It's better to spend time together, creating the style of play that we want."
He also spoke of his ambition to do well this season: "The best mentality is to try and have a stronger season - to have high ambitions, and moderate expectations."
Gracia showed a lot of strength inside his press conference yesterday, showing, most importantly, the faith he has in his players as well as the unity that he wants between all of them.
With the addition of Doucoure on Saturday, Gracia will be hoping to claim victory in the first game of the season; and cast some shadows over the doubts that the media and the fans have about the upcoming months.