Gracia to be patient with attacking duo

Updated: 26/02/2024

Watford (5/2 To be relegated) manager Javi Gracia has hinted Danny Welbeck and Ismaila Sarr could start against Newcastle on Saturday but insists they need time to hit top form.

Welbeck joined the Hornets over the summer as a free agent following the expiration of his contract at Arsenal, while Sarr signed from Rennes for a club-record fee of £27million.

The pair have been involved in Premier League action over the opening three games of the campaign, however, they are yet to earn a place in the starting XI.

They did get the opportunity to start in the Carabao Cup second round tie with Coventry on Tuesday as Sarr opened his goalscoring account in the 2-0 victory.

Sarr featured for 72 minutes before being given the hook, while Welbeck was afforded the chance to finish the game.

With Troy Deeney currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his knee, Gracia has opted for Andre Gray and Gerard Deulofeu to lead the line in the league.

But Watford have struggled for goals and subsequently sit bottom of the league without a single point after three matches ahead of Saturday’s trip to St James’ Park (Match Betting – Newcastle 8/5, draw 9/4, Watford 2/1).

That has led to calls from fans to turn to Welbeck and Sarr but Gracia doesn’t want to throw them into the fray too early.

Gracia said: “These two players need time.  They need time to show their best quality, their best condition, but in this moment we need all of them. We will see and decide if they start or play some minutes.”

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