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Watford not in the market for strikers despite impending Stefano Okaka exit

Watford not in the market for strikers despite impending Stefano Okaka exit
© Reuters
The Italian forward is in talks with Udinese about joining them on loan for the rest of the season.

Watford head coach Javi Gracia says he is not in the market for new strikers in the transfer window despite Stefano Okaka heading for the exit.

The Italian forward is in talks with Udinese about joining them on loan for the rest of the season, along with Marvin Zeegelaar, but Gracia is happy with his squad and is in no rush to bring in any new faces.

"I think it's close and Stefano will be on loan at Udinese," Gracia said at a press conference reported by the club.

"With the players we have, we can achieve good things this season and I don't expect anyone arriving just because Stefano is leaving."

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie against Woking, Gracia also spoke of his desire to hold on to as many of his squad as possible, with reports linking midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure with a move away.

He added: "It's not new, we had it from the last season, all the windows always we are speaking about him, but I know the owner wants to keep our important players with us.

"We will see what will happen because you never know, but in this moment I am thinking he will be with us all the season.

"I would like to keep these important players. I think we are competing well in all the games we play and now I prefer to be focused, preparing for the FA Cup game and after that, the Premier League game against Crystal Palace. It's the best way to achieve good things for us."

Gracia is set to use the full depth of his squad for the game against Woking by resting players who have appeared in four demanding Premier League games in 11 days and selecting others who are chomping at the bit for some action.

Only Sebastian Prodl, Christian Kabasele and Andre Gray are unavailable through injury while Zeegelaar and Okaka will not be considered.

That means the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Daryl Janmaat, Marc Navarro, Miguel Britos, Ben Wilmot, Adalberto Penaranda, Domingos Quina, Tom Cleverley, Heurelho Gomes and Pontus Dahlberg are all under consideration to start against Woking.

"It is a good chance to respect the competition and we know it is an important game, but maybe it will be a good option to see players in the last four games that didn't play," Gracia said. "Maybe they have the chance to play."

Penaranda will be desperate to play having seen his introduction to English football delayed by the application process for a work permit and then a foot problem.

"He's available and is improving," said Gracia. "He is in a fit condition and I think he will be available. He is improving day by day and in this moment he is an option."


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Ben Foster in action for Watford on December 29, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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