TROY DEENEY could be handed a first Watford start since coming out of prison against Huddersfield Town tomorrow with Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola insisting: “He’s paid for what he did.”
Jailed for his part in a Birmingham street brawl, the former Walsall striker was released earlier this month after serving 77 days.
The 24-year-old ex-Aston Villa junior came off the bench during the 2-2 draw against Bristol City at Vicarage Road last Saturday.
Watford have stuck by the player and Zola insisted: “We are all human beings, we all make mistakes and I believe he has paid for the mistake he made.
“He has apologised to the individual, to the club and the supporters so why shouldn’t people have another opportunity?
“Nobody in this world is clear completely and I see no problem in somebody coming back and having a second chance to show what they can do after they have paid for what they’ve done.”
Hornets defender Nyron Nosworthy says Deeney, the club’s 12-goal top scorer last season, has emerged a changed man.
“He’s young and fiery, and that can get you into trouble,” he said.
“He made a mistake, everything that happened since the summer has been an eye opener, and I can see a change in him.”
There have also been changes at Vicarage Road, with a takeover by the Pozzo family, who also own Italian club Udinese and Spain’s Granada, leading to a new manager – Zola replaced Sean Dyche – and an influx of loan signings.
They include four-goal top scorer Matej Vydra, from Udinese, and his fellow Czech, defender Daniel Pudil, from Granada.
Zola has also returned to former club Chelsea to borrow England Under 19 skipper Nathaniel Chalobah, a powerful 17-year-old who can play in both defence and midfield.
Lincolnshire referee Gary Sutton will be in the middle tomorrow.
l Colchester have confirmed Joe Dunne as permanent manager after the dismissal John Ward, to whom he was assistant.
Meanwhile ex-England goalkeeper David James is training with Bournemouth.