Watford could be without defender Miguel Britos and attacking midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado for the FA Cup fifth-round clash with Leeds United at Vicarage Road. The pair missed the Premier League win over Crystal Palace, but both trained on Thursday 18 February ahead of the game.
Britos suffered a dead leg in the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur while Jurado has a calf issue. Both players will be assessed to determine their fitness for the game, which sees the Hornets attempt to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2007. Longer-term absentees Joel Erkstrand and Tommie Hoban are also out.
"Britos suffered a hard kick against Tottenham," manager Quique Sanchez Flores explained, according to the Watford Observer, in a pre-match press conference. "He had a dead leg so he couldn't work. In the last few days he has improved a lot. Jurado had a little problem in his calf but they will both go to the training pitch today. They will train softly. We will see after that."
One selection decision Flores did all-but reveal was the likelihood of January signing Costel Pantilimon returning for just his second appearance since joining from Sunderland. The Romanian started and kept a clean sheet in Watford's fourth-round win over Nottingham Forest and could be called upon again to deputise for first-choice stopper Heurelho Gomes.
"Costel wants to play and he is ready to play," he said, according to the official Watford website. "He covers Heurelho perfectly, we have confidence in this player and he needs to play. We have a lot of players in a good performance at this moment, but for us Heurelho is more than a goalkeeper.
"He is a leader, he is a good reference for us in the club, he manages the dressing room, and he transmits a lot of information he has from the experience he has. We can learn a lot from him. He is a very important player and a very important person for us."
After owner Massimo Cellino went through five managers in his first 18 months at Leeds, the club appear stable under new boss Steve Evans, who is unbeaten in 16 of his 22 games in charge. Flores has been impressed by the about-turn in the club's fortunes since the arrival of the ex-Rotherham United boss.
"When I was working in the media after I retired as a player, I saw Leeds play in the Champions League semi-final against Valencia and I remember perfectly how important this team was in this period. They were close to playing a final in the Champions League," he added.
"Football is football, it is very difficult to know what will happen in the future. They had a bad run and now they aren't in the Premier League, but we respect the history of this team.
"I was analysing the [0-0 draw] Middlesbrough game and their other matches with our staff, and they have a good team. They play in the way that other Premier League teams play – with power, they try to play football, they have three players in the middle who play well – so we need to think well about this match."