Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia to have late fitness test ahead of trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manuel Almunia will have a late fitness test to see if he is able to face Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow night.
Almunia was substituted in the first half of Saturday’s 2-1 win against Derby County due to a hamstring injury.
The Spaniard was expected to be out for a few weeks but the injury was not as bad as initially feared and he has a chance of making tomorrow's televised contest.
Gianfranco Zola said: “We will decide about Almunia tomorrow [Friday] morning when he will have another test. Luckily it’s not as bad as we thought, we were thinking he was going to miss many more games.”
Jonathan Bond says he is ready to fill the void left by Almunia and Zola has also tipped the youngster to impress if needed.
The 19-year-old could not keep out Jamie Ward’s penalty at the weekend but the Academy graduate made a good stop almost immediately after coming on and claimed several crosses during an accomplished performance.
“I’m ready to step in; I don’t get nervous,” Bond said following the Derby win. “I always have to train well and be ready if called upon.”
“I have no problem with Jonathan and I know he can do a good job for us,” Zola added.
“He is calm, he’s in control and he’s a good goalkeeper so I think we’ll be okay even if Manuel doesn’t make it.”
Daniel Pudil is fit enough to return to the squad following illness and Prince Buaben is also back in full training.
The Hornets have decided to bring in Fulham defender Matthew Briggs due to the injury problems at centre-half but he won’t be eligible for the game with Wolves.
Watford are without three defenders; Neuton and Tommie Hoban remain out and Fitz Hall is not expected to return to training until the latter part of next week. John Eustace and Connor Smith are also still out.
The Hornets currently occupy the second automatic place by goal difference and are eight points behind leaders Cardiff City, although the Welsh club will have two games in hand by the end of tomorrow night's match.
Whilst Watford have won their last three, Wolves have not tasted victory since before Christmas – a run stretching to 12 matches in all competitions.