Bad news on hopes for Hughes return

Watford midfielder Will Hughes is still a month from returning to fitness, we understands some seven weeks after he first limped off with a hamstring strain against Manchester United.

With the club struggling through a variety of injury problems in key areas, Hughes’ prolonged absence is a source of frustration to head coach Marco Silva, who is exasperated with the length some of his regular players have been unavailable.

Former Derby man Hughes was expected to return around the New Year and Marco Silva hinted he might be fit to face Brighton on December 23, but he did not make the squad and has still yet to return to action.

After being drilled on adapting to a free role in behind the striker and brought up to Premier League fitness, Hughes quickly went from sitting in the stands to becoming a pivotal part of the Watford attacking line, and scored in back-to-back games against Newcastle and West Ham.

He hobbled off in the next game against United but, following an initial diagnosis that he would miss “a couple of weeks” by Silva, 50 days have now passed since his last appearance in a Hornets shirt.