New Watford head coach Javi Gracia admits he is in the dark over the future of Hornets captain Troy Deeney.
The 29-year-old striker has only scored two goals, from penalty kicks, in the Premier League this season and reportedly had a strained relationship with former boss Marco Silva.
Silva, appointed in the summer, was sacked on Sunday with Watford pointing to an approach for his services from Everton as a reason for a “significant deterioration in both focus and results”.
Gracia, whose CV features spells in charge of Osasuna, Malaga and most recently Rubin Kazan in Russia, came in to replace Silva hours later.
Deeney, who Gracia said is ill and may not feature in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Southampton, has been linked with a January move away from Vicarage Road – where he has become a
firm fan favourite during a seven-and-a-half-year spell.
But Gracia said he was unsure what would happen with Deeney, insisting he has other areas of his new role to focus on as technical director Filippo Giraldi oversees transfer dealings.
“I don’t know,” he replied when asked if he was confident Deeney will stay.
“But I said the truth. I don’t know anything else about this situation.
“I don’t have time to prepare my job the best way. I don’t waste my time in other things. There are many other people in the club, you can ask them.
“Troy Deeney didn’t train this week because he was ill and I don’t know what will happen in his future. I tell you again, there are other people working on these situations and I focus on my job.”
Despite winning just one of their last 11 league games, Gracia insists he will not treat the cup as a chance to rest key players.
“It’s my first match against Southampton and I think it is a great opportunity,” added the Spaniard.
“It is a very important competition, the FA Cup. I am focused on this competition, I don’t want to waste my time thinking of other things, I can’t do that.
“I don’t know what they will be going to do but our situation needs a good performance, with good sensations. This way we will play a good match and it will help us to play better in the next matches.”