Watford V Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road Stadium : Match Preview

24 December 2016
Watford V Crystal Palace - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Watford to check on Sebastian Prodl and Stefano Okaka ahead of clash with Palace

Watford duo Sebastian Prodl and Stefano Okaka could be fit to take their places on the bench against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

Defender Prodl and striker Okaka, who are suffering from a dead leg and a hamstring injury respectively, have returned to light training and face fitness tests.

Defender Craig Cathcart returned to the bench for the defeat against Sunderland having recovered from a groin problem, but is unlikely to start.

Watford boss Walter Mazzarri is unsure what the repercussions of Alan Pardew's sacking by Palace will be for his own team.

The Hornets have been preparing to face their south east rivals at Vicarage Road, but the fixture has taken an unexpected twist after Pardew was dismissed and replaced by Sam Allardyce.

"We cannot know if it will help us. There could be some changes, but it could also be a disadvantage for us," Mazzarri said.

"When this happens I am not happy because, at the end of the day, managers are colleagues, but this is football and it's only the managers who pay the final price.

"I don't know what the dynamics at Crystal Palace are so I can't judge, but I am not happy about this. I didn't expect it, for sure.

"It's points that count, but when I watched Palace play, they played good football and they have very good players."

Crystal Palace hope to have Mathieu Flamini available in Allardyce's first game in charge.

The France midfielder has trained this week after missing the 1-0 loss to Chelsea with a groin injury.

A number of players have nursed knocks, while long-term injured players James Tomkins, Connor Wickham, Bakary Sako, Loic Remy, Pape Souare and Steve Mandanda remain out.

Allardyce has replaced Pardew at Selhurst Park and been handed the task of keeping Palace in the Premier League.

The former Bolton, Blackburn, Newcastle and West Ham chief took his first training session on Saturday morning, ahead of the Watford clash.

The Eagles are currently one point above the relegation having won just once in their last 11 matches.

The situation is nothing new to Allardyce, however.

When he took over at Sunderland last October they were 19th with just three points from their first eight games of the season.

"You've got to do it, it's part of the quick process to try to turn around a difficult situation at the moment," he said.

"It's not as difficult as the position Sunderland were in, I don't think."

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