Watford V West Ham at Vicarage Road Stadium : Match Preview

24 February 2017
Watford V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Walter Mazzarri hoping to reap the benefits of home comforts

Walter Mazzarri hopes his Watford players will benefit from extra time together at a cold London Colney rather than jetting off for some warm weather training as they prepare to get back in Premier League action against West Ham.

The Hornets have not played since losing 2-0 at Manchester United on February 11.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic believes their short trip to Dubai will help his players reap the benefits of a spot of team bonding.

Mazzarri is also confident being able to work through issues in more familiar, if less warm, surroundings can only prove positive as Watford seek what would be a third win in the last four Premier League games.

"We worked very well," the Italian said at a press conference.

"We managed to get back the condition of some players and also got some back from injury.

"I am also curious to see their athletic condition, particularly the new players."

Mazzarri will again be without Belgian defender Christian Kabasele, who is sidelined by a calf muscle injury, while Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart will also both be assessed.

The Italian coach is expecting a response from the side - and one which remains focused for the whole 90 minutes.

"I like my team part-time," Mazzarri said.

"I didn't like my team in the second half [at home] against Burnley, and against Arsenal, for 10-15 minutes, we suffered too much.

"Against Manchester United we started well, but then we lost concentration and this cost us the first goal.

"We committed too many silly mistakes in midfield. Concentration and mistakes cost us the second goal in the second half.

"My team needs to behave and play with more continuity without having lapses of concentration during the game."

West Ham striker Andy Carroll is a doubt with a groin injury.

But left-back Aaron Cresswell is fit after a hamstring niggle and forward Andre Ayew is in contention for the first time since returning from the African Nations Cup.

Defender Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and striker Diafra Sakho (back) remain long-term absentees.

Bilic fears Carroll's latest injury could once again scupper his England chances.

Striker Carroll has scored four goals in his last four matches to prompt talk of a Three Lions call-up for next month's games against Germany and Lithuania.

England boss Gareth Southgate went to the London Stadium to run the rule over Carroll against West Brom a fortnight ago, only to find he was missing due to a groin problem.

And the 28-year-old, whose last cap came in October 2012 due to a succession of injuries, has not trained since and remains a doubt.

Hammers manager Bilic said: "When he's fit and playing Andy is a top striker.

"This is not a big injury but he needs to play, he needs to be available.

"I told him that the small things that are ruining, or affecting, his return, are no good for him, for us, or for a call-up.

"A similar thing happened last year, he was great at the beginning of the year, against Southampton and Liverpool he slaughtered them, but then he got injured and was out for a few weeks.

"Unfortunately this is a little bit slower than we expected and hoped for. Regarding the game against Watford, he'll try to train and if he's good then maybe he has a chance to be in the squad for Saturday.

"With Andy you never know, if he can train tomorrow then maybe, maybe, he will be in the squad for Saturday."