Watford captain Troy Deeney could yet return from injury in time for Saturday's (12 August) meeting with Liverpool. The striker underwent surgery on a groin injury last month and has played a bit-part role in training this week as Marco Silva's side prepare for their 2017-18 Premier League opener at Vicarage Road.
Club stalwart Deeney was often relegated to a bench role under former head coach Walter Mazzarri last term and was subsequently linked with a move away from Hertfordshire, with both Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion previously said to be keen on a deal worth £25m ($32.4m).
The topic of Deeney's future has been raised once again this week following Watford's decision to further bolster a strike force already containing the likes of Stefano Okaka and Isaac Success by spending £18.5m to acquire Andre Gray from Burnley.
However, new boss Silva is adamant that he will both stay put and retain the skipper's armband.
"He's our player, he's our captain, he's a player we're hoping to keep at our club," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference, as per Sky Sports. "We'll see tomorrow (if he is fit to face Liverpool)."
The manager added: "He is progressing well. He's not 100% training with the team but yesterday he did part of the session with us. I believe in the next few days he will start full training with us. He will be then ready to help the team."
Mauro Zarate (knee), Christian Kabasele (hamstring) and Brice Dja Djedje (unknown) will all miss the visit of Liverpool, while centre-back Craig Cathcart is not yet ready to feature as he makes his way back from a knee problem sustained towards the end of last season.
"Cathcart has only worked with us for one week during pre-season," Silva said. "We've had a lot of problems with our centre-backs but in the last two or three weeks we have them nearly all fit. Cathcart should join us soon."
Watford have made seven new signings during the current transfer window to date, with Gray's arrival preceded by those of Daniel Bachmann, Tom Cleverley, Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah and Brazilian winger Richarlison.
A new left-back to provide competition for current incumbent Jose Holebas now appears to be a priority, although Silva refused to be drawn on reported long-running interest in Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs.
"You look through our roster and you see only Holebas is a left-back and so we need to sign one new left back," he said. "The other positions? We'll continue to work on them and after we will see where the players we have signed are."