We take a look at the squad as it stands and try to determine the positions which need some surgery during this summers transfer window
THE EUROPEAN Championships might be the most pressing issue in football right now for most supporters, but with the Capital One League Cup first round fixtures released today the new n.Power Championship season is slowly creeping up on us. The league fixtures are released at 9am on Monday morning and after that it won`t be long until the players are back at London Colney.
With all that in mind, VitalWatford takes a look at the present squad with an eye on where additions will need to be made this summer if Sean Dyche`s charges are to kick on from last season`s impressive 11th-place finish.
Dyche himself has been quick to impress the importance of a 33-man squad – that`s 11 first team players, 11 second string players and a development player in each position too.
The first question has to be the goalkeeping ranks. Presumably Scott Loach will be restored to his position as number one, but his effectiveness in that role is almost entirely dependent on the competition for the first-team jersey.
As mentioned in the end-of-season player reviews, Rene Gilmartin never challenged Loach for his place in the team, and, in my view that lead to complacency on Loach`s behalf.
A goalkeeper to rival Loach for his place would be high on my list of priorities this summer, but with Jonathan Bond and Jack Bonham both now professionals there are already three goalkeepers on the books. Whilst Bond would certainly benefit from being in and around the first-team squad and sitting on the bench, is he really ready to push Loach? Bonham will surely follow a similar path to both Loach and Bond and head out on-loan in either the non-leagues or lower leagues.
At the back the Hornets look strong. Carl Dickinson and Lee Hodson are both good options at full-back and Lloyd Doyley provides versatility in being able to competently fill both slots.
Even if Adrian Mariappa eventually departs the Vic` there will be four senior centre-backs at the club plus ‘development players` Dale Bennett, Adam Thompson, Tommie Hoban, Aaron Tumwa and Matt Bevans.
In the centre of the park Dyche could almost do with trimming his options. His central midfield corps include Stephen McGinn (for now), John Eustace, Prince Buaben, Jonathan Hogg and Ross Jenkins. Five doesn`t fit into four so surely someone will have to leave sooner rather than later.
Out wide Mark Yeates has flattered to deceive whilst Craig Forsyth almost fits the bill as a development player after just the one season in English football. Sean Murray is clearly the outstanding wide option at the club right now even if his natural position is through the middle.
To steal the point made by co-editor chrisgwfc, Murray brings creativity, Eustace and Hogg bring the solidity but the midfield as a whole lack pace. A nippy winger who can beat his marker, get to the line and generally cause chaos with his pace would very much be welcome.
Up front, the January departure of Marvin Sordell left the club looking woefully light up top. Whilst Troy Deeney took up the goalscoring responsibilities and Chris Iwelumo looks a completely different player, Joe Garner finished the campaign with just the one goal.
Britt Assombalonga and Gavin Massey are development options but both would probably benefit more from regular football on-loan at a league club at this stage.
A striker is needed, and once again, with two bulky line-leaders in Deeney and Iwelumo, a smaller, nippier forward to play on the shoulder of the last defender would be an important addition to Dyche`s striking options ahead of the new campaign.
Where do you think we need to add? Who can we cut? Any potential targets?