The weather has played havoc to the fixture list that lies ahead for Watford. As a result of their FA Cup replay being rescheduled, it means they potentially face four games in nine days, in a crucial time for their Premier League survival.
Watford Schedule: A Potentially Gruelling Nine Days Ahead
What Comes First: Relegation Battle or the FA Cup?
Nigel Pearson will be ruing Storm Brendan, having only just eased out of the injury-ravaged festive period.
The Hornets were fortunate that they did not pick up further injuries. Watford are currently without a handful of first-team players, but speaking to Ryan Gray of the Watford Observer, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Kiko Feminia and Will Hughes are expected to return to action soon
They would have preferred to have avoided the added extra of a replay with Tranmere Rovers, following the League One sides come back from three goals down.
Pearson made wholesale changes to his side in the first game between the two sides and will have to do so again at Prenton Park. While he will want to avoid a potential FA Cup upset, he has no choice but to make changes to protect his squad.
During the first game, fringe players, academy products and one or two regulars made up the squad. Tom Dele-Bashiru made his second appearance for the Vicarage Road window. Bayli Spencer-Adams made his long-awaited debut. The pair will be anticipating starts once more. Hopefully, this can put them in the shop window for potential loan moves.
Their second attempt at a replay is between a potential FA Cup fourth round game against Wolves or Manchester United and a six-pointer with Aston Villa.
For Watford, the focus will be on the Aston Villa game. After such a successful start to the Nigel Pearson era, they do not want to lose grip on their relegation battle against a relegation rival. It is, on the whole, the more significant game.
However, changes will be against Villa as well. Just three days before their trip to Villa Park, they face Tottenham. An equally as tougher game with a lesser degree of importance, the next nine days will be pushing Watford to the max.
A Chance for the Fringe Players at Watford to Impress
The gruelling fixture list will offer the chance for the fringe players at Vicarage Road to impress.
Adam Masina will be hoping that he can keep his spot at left-back. The Italian has deputised for the injured Femenia. This continues to allow him the chance to earn a regular spot in Pearson’s side.
Furthermore, Isaac Success will be hoping to earn another chance to try and show his worth. Ismaila Sarr has taken the limelight on the wings this season, but Success can be the perfect back-up for the club-record signing.
Meanwhile, fringe players are not the only players hoping to earn their chance. The anticipated returning injured players will be looking for their opportunity to impress Nigel Pearson.
A Great Job So Far, But it Must Continue
Nigel Pearson has already performed miracles at Vicarage Road. He has dragged them out of the relegation zone and has won four of his seven games in charge.
However, his side must not let their form slip. The bottom three will be hot their heels for the rest of the season. But, the back to basics approach has shown what they were missing in the first half of the season.