Date: 29th December 2008 at 1:34pm
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June, and deep pre-season sees a real lull in activity at Vicarage Road. There`s little speculation to ponder on or really get excited about and even the fixture list (with an opening day trip to the Palace) hardly raises a smile.

Maybe all the talk about cutbacks and salary reviews are taking their toll but Graham Simpson still confirms he`s ‘a believer” ! Yes we all know ‘Jesus Saves` Mr Chairman but perhaps you too should` a put some pennies aside for a rainy day rather than pay out for Ellington and Jackson?

Simpson does take time out to have a pop at the Watford Observer for suggesting he picked up a £1m bonus last year?He asks for an apology and confirms that it was ‘only` £500,000.

Well, that`s ok then.

On the transfer front, Hull are linked with a bizarre move for perma-injured Damien Francis (no doubt to keep Barmby and Okocha company in the KC treatment room?) whilst the Ian Harte speculation does another round in the red tops.

Ludicrous rumour of the close season, however, goes to The Sun who laughably suggest that the Hornets have offered £1m of money we don`t have to bring Adam Johnson back to WD18. “Johnson`s coming nowhere” said Boro?and they meant it as 21 other Championship clubs – and Rangers – left the Riverside empty handed.

Blackpool rock, Kaspers Gorkss`s name came and went with a brief link to Watford before deciding that the smell of the money on offer at QPR was just that little bit sweeter as the summer dragged on.

Elsewhere, David Dodds was unscrupulously dumped from the Academy with Mark Warburton asked to earn his ‘bread` as his replacement – and just in time to see a new breed of scholars come out to play?

So, a few household names to watch then – Matthew Whichelow, Kurtney Brooks, Lee Hodson, Eddie Oshodi, Piero Mingola and Fabrice Otshudi (who looks about 65 from his web profile pic).

One man they`ll be looking up to in more ways than one) is man mountain Danny Shittu who was being lined up by just about everyone it seemed. The world holds its breath as Big Dan misses a number of Nigeria games through injury and gets his bag nicked at Lagos airport to boot?that was one brave thief!

Panic diverted though as the spin machine that is the official club website tells us Danny is still fit despite a hamstring injury…presumably so the bidding war gathers pace.

It`s the only piece of relevant news the club offer up during the entire month it seems but it works as Hull and Sunderland enter the race to sign Shittu.

Danny is wanted Rangers, Celtic, QPR, Hull, Sunderland and er, Wigan Athletic but Watford insist they will only sell for “big, big money”.