Town boss Chris Powell is preparing to face Championship promotion chasers Watford at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday without Jonathan Hogg.

The industrious midfielder will be suspended for the clash with his former club after a red card late in the 1-0 FA Cup third-round home defeat by Reading.

And as fit-again striker James Vaughan continues to be linked with Burnley – the Premier League club again had a scout at Saturday’s match – Powell will make a check on defender Murray Wallace.

The centre-back was replaced by Anthony Gerrard for the second half against Reading after aggravating a niggling injury.

 

“It’s in the groin and hamstring area,” explained the manager, who also had to withdraw Danny Ward from the squad after he suffered back discomfort during the warm-up (Oscar Gobern took his place on the bench).

“We have been trying to nurse Murray through it because he has been doing well and wanted a run in the team.”

Powell is hopeful centre-back Joel Lynch will be available after a groin injury, but will certainly be without Hogg.

The 26-year-old, whose only other career dismissal was during a loan spell at Portsmouth from Aston Villa in 2011, walked in the final minute.

Already booked for a foul on Reading match-winner Nick Blackman, he was show another yellow card, then red, after squaring up to Danny Williams.

The Reading player, who was trying to delay a Town free-kick by keeping hold of the ball, was also cautioned.

“I like Hoggy’s quality, enthusiasm and endeavour,” said Powell. “Of course he wanted to get the ball back to take the free-kick, and rightly so.

“But the way it looked with the two heads coming together, the referee couldn’t book one and not the other, and for Hoggy, it was his second yellow.

“Now he’s out against Watford and he will be a big miss.”

Powell is expecting striker Jon Stead back at PPG Canalside after the end of his loan to Bradford City, but he hasn’t ruled out a Valley Parade return for the 31-year-old.