Captain Troy Deeney, having overcome illness, is benched alongside Sebastian Prodl - who has been suffering from a calf problem - and Daryl Janmaat. Valon Behrami, stricken with a thigh injury, is the final absentee from the side that lost to Crystal Palace by a Deeney own goal a fortnight ago.
A notable presence among the substitutes is Lee Cattermole, who could feature for the first time since September having been kept out with a hip problem.
Watford: Gomes; Cathcart, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Doucoure, Cleverley, Capoue; Amrabat, Okaka, Niang
Subs: Pantilimon, Prodl, Mariappa, Zuniga, Janmaat, Success, Deeney
Sunderland: Pickford, Jones, Oviedo, Kone, O'Shea, Denayer, Gibson, Rodwell, Borini, Januzaj, Defoe
Subs: Mannone, Djilobodji, Larsson, Cattermole, Khazri, Ndong, Manquillo