Date: 1st June 2013 at 10:21am
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In the final part of the series, Vital Watford assess the futures of those players loaned out during the season

In the final part of the series, Vital Watford assess the futures of those players loaned out during the course of the season.

2. Lee Hodson: At the beginning of the season many would have said that the Northern Irish international was perfectly-suited to the style Gianfranco Zola was trying to implement.

Comfortable on the ball, Hodson could have excelled at right-back in a 4-3-3. Even when the system was changed to 3-5-2, the system still looked made for the Boreham Wood-born defender.

However, for one reason or another, it never clicked for Hodson and the defender looks like being allowed to leave after a permanent switch to Brentford collapsed in January.

Verdict: Sold.

3. Carl Dickinson: The left-back has been out on-loan in League One twice this season, first with Portsmouth and then with Coventry City.

With the system change to three at the back, Dickinson’s opportunities have been severely limited. We saw what can happen when Dickinson plays centre-half in the 5-1 humping at Derby in September.

We have also seen that the 26 year-old can be something a liability at left-back.

Dickinson’s last league appearance for Zola’s side was that horror-show at Pride Park. It could well prove to be his last in a Watford shirt.

Verdict: Sold/loaned out.

10. Chris Iwelumo: Despite filling in at the beginning of the season whilst the likes of Alex Geijo and Fernando Forestieri got up to speed, Big Chris was never going to stay beyond the terms of his two-year deal.

The 34 year-old Scottish international has been out on-loan since the back end of 2012 and a free transfer to Scunthorpe United is in the offing.

Verdict: Released.

11. Craig Forsyth: Loaned to Bradford City earlier in the season, Forsyth took a significant step up later in the season when he joined Derby County on-loan.

The Scot excelled at Pride Park and Rams’ boss Nigel Clough has made no secret of his desire to sign the left-winger-cum-left-back.

We hand over to @RamsChat to give us the lowdown on Forsyth.

What position has Forsyth been deployed in predominantly?

Forsyth played a few games for us on the left wing and looked OK, Clough moved him to left back which is where he’s played most of him games for us.

How has Forsyth done overall?

He hasn’t really put a foot wrong since he’s been here, not really a fan of him on the wing but very good at left back. Also chipped in with a couple of assists.


He is very good in the air, which helps us a lot as we aren’t the biggest of teams. Also looks a fantastic crosser of the ball. One weakness is he’s not the quickest of players.

Nigel Clough wants him permanently – is that something most Rams fans agree on?

Definitely, I recently asked fans on Twitter if they would like Forsyth back here next season, and only one person said no while 20+ said yes. His height and versatility are two things we could do with.

Verdict: Sold, most likely to Derby.

14. Ross Jenkins: Time waits for no man and seems like Jenkins is always in these end-of-season articles weighing up his future.

The heir-apparent to John Eustace, the 22 year-old played just once for Watford this term and eight times overall with loan spells at Plymouth Argyle and Barnet.

With Jonathan Hogg and Cristian Battocchio (hopefully) establishing themselves as the ball-winning midfielders going forward, Jenkins’ time is up.

Verdict: Sold/Released.

15. Stephen McGinn: Having signed a new one-year deal last term on the eve of Zola’s appointment, things were finally looking up for McGinn.

But, with his contract up & having told The Shropshire Star his future lies elsewhere, the Scot will definitely move on this summer.

Verdict: Released.

23. Piero Mingoia: Part of the ‘old Watford’, who gave youngsters with half a chance a pro’ deal, Mingoia has quite simply not kicked on and struggled to make an impression out on loan.

We don’t need those bodies at the club anymore and with his contract up, a drop out the Football League seems inevitable.

Verdict: Released.

26. Britt Assombalonga: Another progressive season for the striker out on-loan at Southend United.

With a new long-term contract under his belt, we hand over to some Shrimpers’ supporters to get the lowdown.


How has Assombalonga done for Southend overall?

Overall Britt had a very good season seeing as it was his first in competitive football. League 2 will have been a very different challenge to the sort of games he will have been involved in at academy level.

The season prior to him joining us, we played a very long ball type style under our ex-manager Paul Sturrock, although following fans unrest at it the style was altered for this season to a more mixed type of play, involving a lot more passing with balls in behind for the forwards to latch onto. Assombalonga thrived off this managing 12 goals in 25 games before Christmas, resulting in the extention of his loan period.

Even when the goals dried up in the latter period of the season, he held onto his starting position in the team primarily for his link up play managing to hold the ball up well, bringing others into play.

Strengths & weaknesses of Assombalonga’s game?

He has a great deal of pace and skill to turn a defender, as well as superb strength to hold the ball up bringing team mates into play. Finishing was a major asset in the first half of the season.

One goal against Plymouth I recall Britt rolling player while flicking the ball round to beat the man, then slotting the ball between the ‘keeper’s legs, was one of the classiest goals to have been scored in a Southend shirt in recent years.

According to Southend’s stats on their website, Britt had 49 shots, with 47 on target and the two remaining striking the woodwork.

Something of a dry spell recently – what’s the reason behind that?

The only reason I could put this down to was the partnership with Tomlin being broken through Gavin’s injury.

Could Assombalonga cut it at a higher level?

The higher level would easily suit Britt Assombalonga’s style of play, although whether he is ready for the Chamionship or above I couldn’t say. Definitely capable of holding his own in League 1. We will have him back if you don’t mind though!


How has Britt done overall?

He has showed great maturity for a young lad who has only just waved goodbye to his teenage years. Sixteen goals speaks for itself, and if there was any chance of bringing him back to the club next season I’m sure most Shrimpers fans would love to see him return.

What have been his strengths & weaknesses?

His strength has been his confidence with the ball when driving forward, facing the goal, and demonstrating cool finishing which belies his fledgling years.

He struggles to make an impression when he doesn’t have a big man up front with him, as he is definitely not a player who can win a scrap yet, and Britt is not someone comfortable with his back to goal, with the hot breath of a troll-like centre-half flying down his neck.

He was on a bit of a drought towards the end of the season – why was that?

Britt picked up a double injury at Christmas – shin and ankle – and took a while to bounce back from it. And for such a young player, he played a hell of a lot of matches, 49 in total, and getting kicked from pillar to post by rough-house defenders obviously took its toll.

Could he play at higher in your opinion?

Yes, he is still a baby in football terms and has so much time on his side to improve.

He also possesses two of football’s most craved commodities – raw pace and a lack of nerves staring straight into the whites of the opposition keeper’s eyes.

He could cut it in League One and in time could be a Championship player.

29. Adam Thompson: The defender has been out on loan at Wycombe Wanderers and Barnet but made just two starts and one substitute appearance for the two combined.

However, despite that, the Northern Ireland international has been part of Zola’s squad when he has been in WD18 and could rightly expect to be involved next season too.

A season-long loan move where he gets 40+ games under his belt would be best for both parties, however.

Verdict: Loaned out.