MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 15:57:02

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
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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