Date:Sunday July 6 2014
New recruits, youngsters and familiar faces alike are all pulling together at Watford FC's pre-season training camp, which has now moved to Austria. Vital Watford takes a look at what Beppe Sannino and his players have been up to over the past week or two.
Watford held their first pre-season training session in the shadows of Udinese's Stadio Friuli on June 24, with sporadic photographs uploaded to the official club Twitter and Instagram accounts.
This was the beginning of initial pre-season, in which the players built up their fitness and Beppe Sannino could start working on tactics with the bulk of the players who are expected to be in and around the first team squad next season.
Craig Cathcart, who was announced as a Hornet on Tuesday June 24, was seen training alongside fellow newcomer and defender Gabriel Tamas, signed a few weeks ago.
Another player who was notable in his inclusion in the group was Diego Fabbrini, who, despite having been signed only last summer, was sent out on loan in January to Serie B's Siena. His situation was similar to those of Iriney, who went to Mallorca, and Javier Acuña, who found himself at Osasuna.
Fabbrini made just nine appearances for Siena in his time in Tuscany, scoring one goal in the process, so it is perhaps a surprise to see him back at the club given the other two above mentioned players' absence.
On June 26 it was announced that Matej Vydra had rejoined Watford Football Club. He has been signed on a season-long loan, and joined the squad, many of whom he knows well from his time on loan in the 2012/13 season, shortly after.
From there it wasn't long before the arrival of two other new signings, with Heurelho Gomes and Lloyd Dyer joining up with the rest of the squad in Udine on July 2, having joined on permanent deals from Leicester and Tottenham respectively.
The Hornets have now moved their pre-season training base to Austria and the small town of Bad Bleiberg, where the rest of Watford's continental pre-season will take place.
Yesterday Watford played a match against SK Austria Klagenfurt, the Hornets' first pre-season friendly of the summer.
The score finished 1-0 to Watford, in a match where Lloyd Dyer's one-on-one finish after a Sean Murray through ball was the difference between the two clubs.
All five of Watford`s summer arrivals started, and there was a change in formation to 4-3-3 from the 3-5-2 that Hornets fans and players alike have become accustomed to in the last two seasons.
The Brazilian Heurelho Gomes began the game in goal, to be replaced by 16-year-old Nathan Gartside on 79 minutes. Gartside received praise from Troy Deeney on Twitter, suggesting that the youngster could be one to watch in the coming years.
The Hornets central defensive partnership was all-new as Gabriel Tamas and Craig Cathcart lined up together at the heart of the back four, while the returning Matej Vydra and recent signing Lloyd Dyer started either side of Swedish striker Mathias Ranegie in a front three.
The only goal of the game came in the 26th minute, with Lloyd Dyer burying a one-on-one chance set up by Sean Murray, who lined up in the middle of midfield alongside Lewis McGugan and Cristian Battocchio.
Although the opposition was not of the highest standard - SK Austria Klagenfurt play in the Austrian Regional League Central, two promotions away from the Austrian Bundesliga - a positive result in the first game of any pre-season is a good foundation to build on.
Despite the gulf in quality on paper, the Austrian club kept new 'keeper Gomes busy, with one particularly good save being forced five minutes into the second half after a Klagenfurt corner deflected off the legs of starting Hornets left-back Daniel Pudil.
The lineup for this match was as follows:
Gomes (Gartside 79); Brown (Doyley 46), Tamas (Hoban 46), Cathcart (Ekstrand 46), Pudil; Battocchio, Murray (Doherty 71), McGugan (Smith 56); Vydra (O'Nien 79), Ranegie (Fabbrini 46), Dyer (Jakubiak 64).
Date:Sunday July 6 2014
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Preview: Rotherham Utd (Away) - August 19 (Tuesday August 19 2014)
Ekstrand Off As Hornets Suffer First Defeat (Saturday August 16 2014)
Stats: Norwich City v Watford (Saturday August 16 2014)
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Away From Home: Sannino Masterclass (Thursday August 14 2014)
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Stats: Stevenage v Watford (Tuesday August 12 2014)
Preview: Stevenage (Away) - August 12 (Tuesday August 12 2014)
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