Watford defender Lloyd Doyley hoping club continues to progress
Lloyd Doyley has praised the impact of Watford’s signings last summer and hopes their developing squad can stay together for years to come.
The Hornets have made no secret of the fact they need to sell players to balance the books but it has led to a dramatic overhaul of the playing squad for the last four summers.
Adrian Mariappa could well depart after the best campaign of his career with only a year left on his current contract, but his good friend Doyley is hoping the squad will remain together on the whole.
Last summer the club signed a host of players as they looked to increase the experience at the club, including the likes of Chris Iwelumo, Jonathan Hogg and Carl Dickinson.
Speaking before he departed for his summer break, Doyley told the Watford Observer: “We have brought in a few players who have strengthened our squad. These players have helped us massively and hopefully they will stay here for three or four years.”
Like Malky Mackay before him, Sean Dyche had to cope with several of his best players leaving last summer and faced a rebuilding job during his first season in management.
Doyley said: “I think we have progressed from last season (2010/11).
“At the beginning of this season we lost a few players but to be fair we restructured the squad and I think it is pretty strong now.
“At the beginning of the season we didn’t start too well but we picked up and ended with more points than last year.”
When asked about the major differences between Dyche’s first season and the year before, Doyley replied: “I think we have been pretty similar in terms of consistency in the sense of winning a few games, going on runs and then losing a few.
“But in the second half of the season we picked up and the consistency levels were pretty good and we only lost three or four games in the last 20, which showed the improved consistency we have brought in. Last season we had a few players who scored a lot of goals which got us out of a bit of a mess but this season we have spread it out more.
“We have also added more experienced players who have helped us along the way.”
Doyley has been a mainstay in the Hornets side for the best part of a decade and started the opening 14 games of last season.
But then injury saw him sidelined for two months and when he did return, he had to wait another six weeks before securing his place again.
“I have enjoyed most of the season,” Doyley said. “I had a little period where I was out for a few games with injury and I couldn’t get myself back in the team but that shows how strong the group is.
“There have been periods during the season where players haven’t been able to get back in because other players have been doing well and that is a credit to everyone at the club.
“Everyone is training well and fighting to get into the team.”
Doyley’s primary competitor for the right back slot, Lee Hodson, can consider himself slightly unfortunate to finish the campaign out of the picture after he impressed while filling in for his more experienced team-mate, but ultimately lost his place to left back Carl Dickinson.
Doyley said: “Lee is a really good player.
“When I was injured, he came in and did really well and when I got fit, I couldn’t get back in because himself, and the team, where doing really well.
“There are a few other youngsters who could also be fighting for the right back and left back spots. As well as Carl Dickinson, you have Dale Bennett, who did really well at Brentford.
“There is still a lot to fight for. I need to push them and make sure I am in the team.”
If Doyley has his wish and the majority of the squad do remain together, then hopefully the Hornets can build on what was a successful campaign.
For their right back, he is not getting too carried away when it comes to his hopes for next season; more of the same is his message.
He said: “I haven’t spoken to the boss yet about the progression but that is what it is about; progressing as a club.
“We have to try to get more points than last year, which is always a good sign of progression, and I would say that will be our target next season.”