“Too early to risk him” – Hodgson’s injury update rules two Super Eagles stars out of crucial Premier League clash

The Hornets are all but condemned to a return to the Championship after a terrible campaign, but their manager is not giving up just yet

Watford boss Roy Hodgson has confirmed that the Nigerian duo of Samuel Kalu and William Troost-Ekong will miss the Hornets’ league clash against Brentford this weekend.

The Golden Boys sit in 19th position with 22 points, six away from safety with only seven matches to play, and they will need all the help they can get when they host the Bees at the Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Of the four Nigerian internationals in their fold, only Emmanuel Dennis has excelled for the Hornets, scoring nine goals and adding another five assists since he joined from Club Brugge in the summer.

Injuries have not allowed Watford to get the best out of Stoke City loanee Oghenekaro Etebo and midfielder Samuel Kalu since he signed for the club from French side Bordeaux during the winter transfer window.

Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has also struggled with injuries and match fitness since returning to England from the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

And at Friday’s press conference, Hodgson revealed that two of the club’s Nigerian imports will be unavailable when the Golden Boys face a Christian Eriksen-inspired Brentford later today (Saturday).

“Samuel Kalu, who was with us last time, has got an ankle injury,” the Hornets’ manager said.

“Will Troost-Ekong is suffering from a slight hamstring strain. We don’t think it’s major but too early to risk him in this game.”

Watford have only won two of their last 14 league games this year and unsurprisingly occupy one of the last two spots on the Premier League table.

The strugglers may need to win six of their last seven games to survive the drop, but it could be an arduous task with Manchester City, Leicester City, and Chelsea among those opponents.

But Hodgson is not losing hope that his side can pull off a miraculous escape.

“We need at least one more point than the team third from bottom; how many points that will be; I don’t know. This is the time in the season when strange things happen.

“We’ve just got to keep taking the opportunities that come our way because we’re not dead yet; we are still alive and kicking, still hoping and believing that we can get out of it.

“We have to take every opportunity that comes our way to get points and hope the teams we are chasing don’t have similar fortunes,” he added.

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