Almen Abdi still not ready for Watford comeback but 'number one' Manuel Almunia could return against Sheffield Wednesday

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Almen Abdi is still not ready to return to first-team action but Manuel Almunia is fit again as Watford look to end a run of seven games without a win on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday.

Abdi has not played a competitive match since August 31 due to an on-going foot problem.

On Monday night, head coach Gianfranco Zola said he thought Abdi was “turning a corner” despite withdrawing from that day’s training session with minor discomfort.

Speaking at the fans’ forum, he said: “Abdi has been training with the team regularly. He trained today (Monday), Friday and Thursday and everything seems to be going well. Today he had a little something but it is looking very good.

“Hopefully we are turning a corner which is great news considering the importance and the influence he has on the team. We will need to see tomorrow (Tuesday) but it is looking good.”

But this afternoon Zola said: “I do not think he will be available. He is much better but he is still not 100 per cent. We have to wait a little bit longer.

“He is still not pain free. He has been out a long time and he is afraid of setbacks so he doesn’t want to risk it.”

One player who is back in contention is Almunia, who has missed the last four matches through illness and then a minor knee problem.

Zola has made no secret of the fact he considers Almunia his number one but Jonathan Bond is now in contention for the top spot after a string of good performances.

The head coach said: “Manuel is much better and should be involved [in the squad] on Saturday. It is good news.

“Manuel Almunia is still my number one but Jonathan Bond is doing very well so I have to decide if he (Bond) has to give up his place yet. Jonathan has been doing very well which has put him in contention to be number one.”

Gabriele Angella is fully fit after a thigh injury kept him out for a month and Josh McEachran is also available again after illness.

Lloyd Doyley could return to training tomorrow or Monday after a hamstring problem but Reece Brown has twisted his knee and has joined Essaid Belkalem on the long-term absentee list.

Tommie Hoban should return in January following ten months out with an ankle injury.

Watford have lost their last four home matches and are in 12th place, 14 points off the top two and six below the play-off spots. Sheffield Wednesday are 23rd in the table, level on points with bottom side Barnsley.

Comments (23)

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6:18pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Boosey says...

For Bond's confidence, he needs to retain his place.
For Bond's confidence, he needs to retain his place. Boosey

6:23pm Thu 12 Dec 13

mooneysmagic says...

Will be kick in the teeth for Bond.
Will be kick in the teeth for Bond. mooneysmagic

6:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

buckler says...

Abdi needs to MAN UP!
Abdi needs to MAN UP! buckler

6:48pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Shoooooot says...

Don't know if it's because Christmas is coming but I am experiencing a wave of optimism. Two draws away against difficult opponents would normally have been viewed as v satisfactory if the season had been going better. Deeney is back on the score sheet, injured players coming back ( shame about Abdi but hopefully another plus to come) and a rollicking 4-0 win against Wednesday on Sat and it will be unbeaten in 3 rather than not won in 7! COYH!!
Don't know if it's because Christmas is coming but I am experiencing a wave of optimism. Two draws away against difficult opponents would normally have been viewed as v satisfactory if the season had been going better. Deeney is back on the score sheet, injured players coming back ( shame about Abdi but hopefully another plus to come) and a rollicking 4-0 win against Wednesday on Sat and it will be unbeaten in 3 rather than not won in 7! COYH!! Shoooooot

8:08pm Thu 12 Dec 13

jasonwatford says...

Bond needs to go back to the bench...had a nice run of a few games but Manuel is our number 1 and should play if fit.
Bond needs to go back to the bench...had a nice run of a few games but Manuel is our number 1 and should play if fit. jasonwatford

8:10pm Thu 12 Dec 13

andyandyandy says...

Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.
Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season. andyandyandy

8:15pm Thu 12 Dec 13

grahamwfc says...

You cannot drop Bond
You cannot drop Bond grahamwfc

8:47pm Thu 12 Dec 13

jasonwatford says...

grahamwfc wrote:
You cannot drop Bond
Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after.
[quote][p][bold]grahamwfc[/bold] wrote: You cannot drop Bond[/p][/quote]Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after. jasonwatford

9:25pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Stoney77 says...

jasonwatford wrote:
grahamwfc wrote:
You cannot drop Bond
Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after.
I agree Jason. Bond is a decent keeper with fantastic potential and another 15-20 years left of playing if he stays injury free, not to mention 12 years off his peak, so What's the rush in making him number 1?
Almunia has better anticipation and is better at one v ones, Bond has better reflex saves and a further reach.
If Bond becomes number 1 too soon and makes mistakes - as ALL keepers do, particularly young ones - then the large number of bellends in the crowd will get on his case, ruin his confidence and possibly ruin his career. The case of Scott Loach has been mentioned before and is a decent example.
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]grahamwfc[/bold] wrote: You cannot drop Bond[/p][/quote]Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after.[/p][/quote]I agree Jason. Bond is a decent keeper with fantastic potential and another 15-20 years left of playing if he stays injury free, not to mention 12 years off his peak, so What's the rush in making him number 1? Almunia has better anticipation and is better at one v ones, Bond has better reflex saves and a further reach. If Bond becomes number 1 too soon and makes mistakes - as ALL keepers do, particularly young ones - then the large number of bellends in the crowd will get on his case, ruin his confidence and possibly ruin his career. The case of Scott Loach has been mentioned before and is a decent example. Stoney77

10:46pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Watforddogs says...

jasonwatford wrote:
Bond needs to go back to the bench...had a nice run of a few games but Manuel is our number 1 and should play if fit.
As usual the Luton supporting Jason calls it wrong

Almunia is yesterdays man and Bond might be the future - don't kick him in the teeth
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: Bond needs to go back to the bench...had a nice run of a few games but Manuel is our number 1 and should play if fit.[/p][/quote]As usual the Luton supporting Jason calls it wrong Almunia is yesterdays man and Bond might be the future - don't kick him in the teeth Watforddogs

10:47pm Thu 12 Dec 13

rogeruk says...

andyandyandy wrote:
Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.
And you would be right, it's a very serious injury, if we had been given this diagnosis much earlier instead of Zola's **** evrybody would know where we all stood with this injury, even now Zola is bullshitting!
[quote][p][bold]andyandyandy[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.[/p][/quote]And you would be right, it's a very serious injury, if we had been given this diagnosis much earlier instead of Zola's **** evrybody would know where we all stood with this injury, even now Zola is bullshitting! rogeruk

11:08pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Boosey says...

Stoney77 wrote:
jasonwatford wrote:
grahamwfc wrote:
You cannot drop Bond
Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after.
I agree Jason. Bond is a decent keeper with fantastic potential and another 15-20 years left of playing if he stays injury free, not to mention 12 years off his peak, so What's the rush in making him number 1?
Almunia has better anticipation and is better at one v ones, Bond has better reflex saves and a further reach.
If Bond becomes number 1 too soon and makes mistakes - as ALL keepers do, particularly young ones - then the large number of bellends in the crowd will get on his case, ruin his confidence and possibly ruin his career. The case of Scott Loach has been mentioned before and is a decent example.
I agree with what you are saying but my original quote was to keep Bond in for the next game, good for his confidence and will also give Almunia a reminder that he's being pushed all the way.
[quote][p][bold]Stoney77[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]grahamwfc[/bold] wrote: You cannot drop Bond[/p][/quote]Why ??? He has done well but at fault for 2 goals at Leeds IMO .... He is our number 2 and if you play him too much will end up like loach. Bondy is a very level headed lad and will go far as long as he is looked after.[/p][/quote]I agree Jason. Bond is a decent keeper with fantastic potential and another 15-20 years left of playing if he stays injury free, not to mention 12 years off his peak, so What's the rush in making him number 1? Almunia has better anticipation and is better at one v ones, Bond has better reflex saves and a further reach. If Bond becomes number 1 too soon and makes mistakes - as ALL keepers do, particularly young ones - then the large number of bellends in the crowd will get on his case, ruin his confidence and possibly ruin his career. The case of Scott Loach has been mentioned before and is a decent example.[/p][/quote]I agree with what you are saying but my original quote was to keep Bond in for the next game, good for his confidence and will also give Almunia a reminder that he's being pushed all the way. Boosey

1:11am Fri 13 Dec 13

HemelHornet says...

I have the same injury as Abdi and I know that I am out for the season - I don't have coaches and physio's working with me everyday though so maybe it will be quicker for Abdi. One thing I can tell you though is that it is very easy to re injure yourself if you try and run before you can walk, literally so he needs the time for his heel to settle down.
I have the same injury as Abdi and I know that I am out for the season - I don't have coaches and physio's working with me everyday though so maybe it will be quicker for Abdi. One thing I can tell you though is that it is very easy to re injure yourself if you try and run before you can walk, literally so he needs the time for his heel to settle down. HemelHornet

8:13am Fri 13 Dec 13

SAHornet says...

HemelHornet wrote:
I have the same injury as Abdi and I know that I am out for the season - I don't have coaches and physio's working with me everyday though so maybe it will be quicker for Abdi. One thing I can tell you though is that it is very easy to re injure yourself if you try and run before you can walk, literally so he needs the time for his heel to settle down.
You're absolutely right HH. I too have plantar faciitis and it's a very long term injury and VERY painful. I've had it for over 3 months now. It went away for a few days and then came back with a vengence without apparent reason.

bucklers comment above that...."Abdi needs to MAN UP!" is ludicrous and shows that he knows nothing about this condition.
[quote][p][bold]HemelHornet[/bold] wrote: I have the same injury as Abdi and I know that I am out for the season - I don't have coaches and physio's working with me everyday though so maybe it will be quicker for Abdi. One thing I can tell you though is that it is very easy to re injure yourself if you try and run before you can walk, literally so he needs the time for his heel to settle down.[/p][/quote]You're absolutely right HH. I too have plantar faciitis and it's a very long term injury and VERY painful. I've had it for over 3 months now. It went away for a few days and then came back with a vengence without apparent reason. bucklers comment above that...."Abdi needs to MAN UP!" is ludicrous and shows that he knows nothing about this condition. SAHornet

8:28am Fri 13 Dec 13

bigthunder says...

A massive game tomorrow a 5th straight home defeat unthinkable , must win in front of home fans and we know what is coming tomorrow with the Sheff Weds basketball team i.e all players well over 6ft tall , crossess into box , corners, set pieces, long balls through the middle , can expect all this tomorrow can we defend it though ?

Need big lads ourselves tomorrow Fitz , Angella , for starters ??
A massive game tomorrow a 5th straight home defeat unthinkable , must win in front of home fans and we know what is coming tomorrow with the Sheff Weds basketball team i.e all players well over 6ft tall , crossess into box , corners, set pieces, long balls through the middle , can expect all this tomorrow can we defend it though ? Need big lads ourselves tomorrow Fitz , Angella , for starters ?? bigthunder

9:05am Fri 13 Dec 13

endean2 says...

if we do not pick a suitably physical team tomorrow they will batter us out
of sight, this is not a day for the pretty stuff. Hall must start at least, as said
a 5th straight home defeat would be a total disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!
if we do not pick a suitably physical team tomorrow they will batter us out of sight, this is not a day for the pretty stuff. Hall must start at least, as said a 5th straight home defeat would be a total disaster!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!! endean2

9:16am Fri 13 Dec 13

thepriceisnickywright says...

Bond should retain his place. I agree with the comments about not rushing him and playing him all of the time, but he has had 3 good performances in the games he has played, and kept us in games at times. Dropping him now would be a blow to his confidence, especially as he doesn't deserve it. No need to rush Almunia back in, his head obviously wasn't in the right place and he had a knee problem. If we rush him back in and he has a shocker, it would look like an awful decision.

Bond to start
Bond should retain his place. I agree with the comments about not rushing him and playing him all of the time, but he has had 3 good performances in the games he has played, and kept us in games at times. Dropping him now would be a blow to his confidence, especially as he doesn't deserve it. No need to rush Almunia back in, his head obviously wasn't in the right place and he had a knee problem. If we rush him back in and he has a shocker, it would look like an awful decision. Bond to start thepriceisnickywright

9:19am Fri 13 Dec 13

jasonwatford says...

Almunia will start...........
Almunia will start........... jasonwatford

9:28am Fri 13 Dec 13

thepriceisnickywright says...

jasonwatford wrote:
Almunia will start...........
I disagree, I think he will stay with Bond. If he doesn't I will eat my hat
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: Almunia will start...........[/p][/quote]I disagree, I think he will stay with Bond. If he doesn't I will eat my hat thepriceisnickywright

9:33am Fri 13 Dec 13

Harry's Bar says...

rogeruk wrote:
andyandyandy wrote:
Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.
And you would be right, it's a very serious injury, if we had been given this diagnosis much earlier instead of Zola's **** evrybody would know where we all stood with this injury, even now Zola is bullshitting!
I wouldn't say bullshitting but but maybe we shouldn't place too much store in Zola's injury updates. He's obviously desperate for Abdi to return but I think they pushed him too hard and he's had a relapse. Thinking he could play at Leeds was crazy. As for Almunia, he's been "much better" for some time now
[quote][p][bold]rogeruk[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyandyandy[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.[/p][/quote]And you would be right, it's a very serious injury, if we had been given this diagnosis much earlier instead of Zola's **** evrybody would know where we all stood with this injury, even now Zola is bullshitting![/p][/quote]I wouldn't say bullshitting but but maybe we shouldn't place too much store in Zola's injury updates. He's obviously desperate for Abdi to return but I think they pushed him too hard and he's had a relapse. Thinking he could play at Leeds was crazy. As for Almunia, he's been "much better" for some time now Harry's Bar

9:50am Fri 13 Dec 13

bristol hornet says...

bigthunder wrote:
A massive game tomorrow a 5th straight home defeat unthinkable , must win in front of home fans and we know what is coming tomorrow with the Sheff Weds basketball team i.e all players well over 6ft tall , crossess into box , corners, set pieces, long balls through the middle , can expect all this tomorrow can we defend it though ?

Need big lads ourselves tomorrow Fitz , Angella , for starters ??
Definitely bring back Fitz tomorrow.

We have been lacking in the air at the back all season, with even midgets like Ward of Derby dominating. Ekstrand is okay on the ground, but has cost us a lot of goals in the air.

Even Nos is not the same player he was, and arguably was at fault with all 3 goals at Leeds last week. And at the other end, we look as lightweight at corners and set pieces as I can remember in my 40 odd years of watching WFC.
[quote][p][bold]bigthunder[/bold] wrote: A massive game tomorrow a 5th straight home defeat unthinkable , must win in front of home fans and we know what is coming tomorrow with the Sheff Weds basketball team i.e all players well over 6ft tall , crossess into box , corners, set pieces, long balls through the middle , can expect all this tomorrow can we defend it though ? Need big lads ourselves tomorrow Fitz , Angella , for starters ??[/p][/quote]Definitely bring back Fitz tomorrow. We have been lacking in the air at the back all season, with even midgets like Ward of Derby dominating. Ekstrand is okay on the ground, but has cost us a lot of goals in the air. Even Nos is not the same player he was, and arguably was at fault with all 3 goals at Leeds last week. And at the other end, we look as lightweight at corners and set pieces as I can remember in my 40 odd years of watching WFC. bristol hornet

10:48am Fri 13 Dec 13

Mickey Quinn, not so thin says...

andyandyandy wrote:
Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.
sadly nor would I. He's been a massive loss for us. look where we were before his injury.
[quote][p][bold]andyandyandy[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't bet against Abdi being out all season.[/p][/quote]sadly nor would I. He's been a massive loss for us. look where we were before his injury. Mickey Quinn, not so thin

2:54pm Fri 13 Dec 13

JohnnyHornet says...

buckler wrote:
Abdi needs to MAN UP!
I've had the same complaint and it's bl00dy painful, took 6 months for mine to go and I don't do anything physical like these guys.
[quote][p][bold]buckler[/bold] wrote: Abdi needs to MAN UP![/p][/quote]I've had the same complaint and it's bl00dy painful, took 6 months for mine to go and I don't do anything physical like these guys. JohnnyHornet

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