First Team 2 weeks ago

Blissett: “He’s Brought The Players Together”

Luther Blissett, all-time top goalscorer and appearance holder for the Hornets, sees a unity and organisation in the team under Nigel Pearson which bodes well for the remainder of the season.

“We’ve had our Christmas present in more ways than one, the way things have gone,” said Blissett. “He [Pearson] has brought the players together, I think he’s given them more direction and he’s given them a real purpose to the way they’re playing, with the way he’s organised the team.

“All you can do is hope that continues and the results will come more and more, and we’ll get ourselves into a great position. We’ve just got to keep doing our job and hope they [other teams] will fall by the wayside as we go on.”

Blissett praised Pearson and his coaching team for the recent upturn in league form, but insisted the new Head Coach should not be compared to previous managers, such as his own former boss Graham Taylor.

“They’re different people in their own right, they have a way of working which is individual to themselves and I don’t think Nigel would want to be cast as following in the line of Graham Taylor because he has his own strengths and what he’s good at,” said Blissett.

“What he [Pearson] has achieved here, I don’t think we should be comparing with anything else because what he’s done has been first rate and you can’t fault anything he’s done. It’s been a fantastic appointment because he’s come in and got players who’ve not been performing at that level and he’s got them back to that level. He’s got them organised and playing as a team.”

There was a bump in the road for this resurgent Hornets side when a young team were pegged back against Tranmere in the FA Cup third round, but Blissett has been on the other side of cup upsets and knows anything can happen in this competition.

“We should not forget as Watford Football Club that we started as they [Tranmere] are,” he said. “We were the small club coming to the big First Division clubs and playing with no fear and having a go and coming away with results. So let’s not be too surprised or disappointed with the result because that’s what the FA Cup does, it brings results like this up.”

Under-23's 2 weeks ago

Riza On Hinds: “He Played Like The Complete Player”

By Kevin Affleck

Kaylen Hinds staked a claim to be involved in the FA Cup replay at Tranmere with a majestic performance to inspire the Under-23s to their biggest win of the season.

The 21-year-old was in contention to feature in the original tie at Vicarage Road on Saturday as he had trained with the first team all week, but he just missed out on making the 18. He bounced back from the disappointment to turn on the style for the Under-23s in a 6-1 thumping of Bristol City this afternoon. He ran the show from an advanced midfield position and the Robins couldn’t get near him.

“He was outstanding,” said Assistant Coach Omer Riza. “He played with real intelligence, had plenty of time to play when receiving the ball and was very creative and had quality in possession. He created goals, was unselfish and played like the complete player.”

Hinds displayed the sort of form that marked him out as a top teenage talent at Arsenal and one that earned him a £1.35m move to Wolfsburg in the summer of 2017.

“He is at the stage where he probably needs to go out on loan,” said Riza. “Since he’s come in he has shown real quality and performed consistently. It would be good to get an opportunity in the replay at Tranmere and hopefully he will get that chance. He works hard and shows good character. He just cracks on after any disappointment and he’s ready to have a little go.”

Hinds laid on Sam Dalby’s first and then watched the striker convert two penalties to complete his hat-trick and take his tally to 11 for the season. Harry Forster, a trialist and Jayden Bennetts scored the other goals.

“Sam should really have scored a few more!” said Riza. “He was really good today and the most important thing is that his general game was good, his link-up play was good and his intensity around the pitch was impressive. It was a good all-round performance from him.”

The win represented the perfect start to 2020 from the table-toppers and a good response from the likes of Callum Whelan and Mason Barrett who may have been disappointed with how the game panned out during their first-team debuts on Saturday.

“The boys have been working really hard since they came back after Christmas,” said Riza. “We’ve given them different ideas, different ways of playing and different structures. They have taken a lot on board, implemented it and come away with a really good outcome.

“The lads who came back from the first team on Saturday have come back better players, with more experience and more know-how. The intensity at which the game is played at first-team level will be the big thing and they will learn to do things quicker and with more intelligence. It’s been a big benefit for them.”

HORNETS: Parkes; Balogun, Barrett, Trialist, Green; Wise (Bennetts 62, Adebiyi 79), Whelan (C), Hinds; Forster, Dalby, Hungbo (Cassidy 62).

Subs not used: White (GK), Gordon.