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Key players return for Watford and Middlesbrough

Key players return for Watford and Middlesbrough

Watford will be boosted by the return of two key figures for their trip to Middlesbrough this Saturday, whilst their hosts could include up to five players who had been rated as 'doubtful'.

Experienced goalkeeper and stand-in captain Manuel Almunia is set to re-claim his spot between the sticks after missing the Hornet's glamour tie away to Manchester City, whilst midfielder Almen Abdi is also available for selection once more.

There is less positive news regarding Jonathan Hogg, who had been targeting a return against his hometown club, and defender Fitz Hall, who has been out of action since the Brigton win at the back end of December.

Defensive duo Tommie Hoban (achilles) and Neuton will both be assessed today (Friday) ahead of Saturday's tie on Teesside.

From a Middlesbrough perspective, with six players definitely sidelined, 'Boro boss Tony Mowbray will be pleased to welcome back five first-teamers who had been a doubt for the weekend.

Defenders Andre Bikey, Seb Hines and George Friend as well as midfield pair Faris Haroun and Emmanuel Ledesma are all back in training at Rockliffe Park and in contention for the 'Orns visit.

Speaking to The Official Middlesbrough Website, Mowbray assessed the chances of the returning five:

'Some have a better chance than others but we'll be in a better position than we were last weekend,' admitted the 'Boro gaffer.

'The injuries we've had were mainly strains and pulls and were only ever going to be 10 days or two weeks away. The ones who don't make this game should be available for the next one.'

'Boro will be without Andrew Halliday (broken nose), Jonathan Woodgate (calf), Justin Hoyte (hip), Julio Arca (toe), Mustafa Carayol (knee) and Curtis Main (knee).

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Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Friday January 11 2013
Time: 11:46AM

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