Sanchez Flores: Aston Villa return won't faze Troy Deeney
Troy Deeney will not be fazed by returning to his boyhood club Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, according to Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
Deeney started his career in the youth team at Villa Park, remaining with the midlands club until he was 15. He subsequently played for non-league Chelmsley Town, returned to the professional ranks with Walsall and joined the Hornets in 2010.
Deeney captained Watford to promotion from the Championship last season and became the first player in the club's history to score 20 or more goals in three consecutive seasons. Despite being a lifelong Villa fan, Sanchez Flores believes Deeney will be able to focus properly on the game on Saturday.
Sanchez Flores said: "He is very competitive, he never wants to lose and not against Aston Villa, it is not in his mind.
"He manages this kind of situation very well, (it) is an extra motivation for the players so I talked with him about this matter for maybe two minutes.
"I don't feel scared or worried or anything. I feel very calm about it."
The English striker scored his second goal of the season with a penalty in the Hornets' 2-1 loss to Manchester United last weekend but in a dramatic turn of events scored an own goal minutes later.
Sanchez Flores is not concerned by the game at Vicarage Road last weekend and the Spaniard is confident in Deeney's ability as a striker and as a captain.
"He is part of the soul of the team, he represents well what we want," the Hornets boss said.
"He is fighting always, he's scoring now and the last goal (the own goal) - he is fighting for goals in every sense.
"He is very important because he is always focused and knows what happens in the squad, in the dressing room, on the pitch.
"He is a captain so if something happens he transmits to me as quickly as possible.
"He will say 'coach! This situation has happened' because I don't know sometimes what has happened, the connection with him is very very important and I am very happy to have an English leader. It is very important for me."
Sanchez Flores is confident this season will be the one where Watford stay in the Premier League.
The Hornets have failed to stay in the top flight of English football for more than a season in their last two attempts, suffering the drop in 1999-2000 and 2006-07, but the Spaniard is confident they can buck that trend.
He said: "(Survival) is very important for the club.
"This club has been fighting a lot to get into the (Premier League) for a second year, we need to continue growing every time.
"We have a chance of course. I know the history but we are not teaching the team to play in history, we are playing in the present.
"We try to enjoy the present and we are trying to keep the players competitive."
Valon Behrami will be assessed after training on Friday before a decision is made on whether he will travel with the team after suffering a knock in training but the rest of the Hornets squad are available.
Watford's opponents Villa have not won in their last 12 Premier League games.