Maduka Okoye, Samuel Kalu and Tom Dele Bashiru are expected to feature as recently-relegated Watford continue preparations for their return to the Championship with a pre-season friendly against League One outfit Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday.

The hosts return from their training camp in Austria in search of their first win of the summer, in their third warmup match ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, whilst the visitors come into it on the back of a defeat to rivals Wigan Athletic at the weekend.

Another summer of change at Watford means preparations for the new campaign were never going to go smoothly.

New head coach Rob Edwards, tasked with building a long-term project at the Hornets following his excellent work with Forest Green Rovers, certainly needs time to build his own squad and implement another new playing style.

Those changes so far have seen Watford lose to League One outfit Cambridge United in their summer opener on July 2, before they jetted off to Austria for a training camp.

That week-long workout concluded with a tough test against Greek side Panathinaikos on Sunday, which finished goalless despite a fairly lively encounter.

Joao Pedro was at the centre of much of the play for Watford in the final third, and the 20-year-old is likely to be key to his side’s chances to returning to the Premier League, with the task beginning with a tough opener against Sheffield United on August 1.

Meanwhile, Bolton begun preparations for the 2022-23 League One campaign back in June, and as a result, the third-tier side have already completed four warmup matches prior to their trip to Watford on Tuesday.

A thumping 9-0 win over amateur outfit Longridge Town got their summer up and running back on June 28, which was followed by a victory against another non-league outfit in the form of Chorley.

A step up in opposition in their last two outings has seen the Trotters draw with Stockport County before losing to rivals Wigan by a 1-0 scoreline on Saturday.

Bolton boss Ian Evatt was pleased with much of his side’s play against the Championship side, with a lack of cutting edge in the final third all that let his side down, as their unbeaten pre-season run came to an end.

Preparations have been positive on an overall level so far however, with Evatt pleased with how his side is performing following their excellent finish to the 2021-22 campaign, in which Bolton finished with four consecutive wins in an eight-game unbeaten spell to conclude the season.

Team News

Watford are likely to rotate their starting 11 once again on Tuesday, which could include Maduka Okoye being handed a start ahead of Daniel Bachmann in between the posts.

Okoye has been joined in the lineup by fellow summer arrival Vakoun Bayo, who will bare much of the goalscoring burden along with Pedro in Watford’s push for promotion.

Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis continue to play no part in pre-season friendlies ahead of expected moves away from Vicarage Road this summer.

As for the visitors, Amadou Bakayoko sat out the 1-0 defeat to Wigan at the weekend, and the striker is unlikely to be risked here with Evatt keen to ensure no further damage is done ahead of the new campaign.

Strike partner Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was also suffering from a minor knock, so his availability remains to be seen too, which leaves Evatt with a lack of options in attack.

B team striker Connor Stanley is therefore likely to play a part in the striker role once again on Tuesday, even if Bodvarsson is fit enough to start the training ground friendly.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Okoye; Ngakia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Samir; Kayembe, Gosling, Dele-Bashiru; Sema, Bayo, Pedro

Bolton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Dixon; Jones, Santos, Senior; Bradley, Dempsey, Lee, Iredale; Kachunga, Bodvarsson, Charles


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