Troy Deeney will serve a four-match suspension after Watford failed in their appeal to overturn his red card against Huddersfield.
Deeney, who was given a retrospective three-match ban earlier this season for an incident with Stoke’s Joe Allen, was dismissed following a wild lunge on Collin Quaner in the first half of Watford’s 4-1 home defeat to Huddersfield on Saturday.
The Hornets lodged an appeal with the Football Association against captain Deeney’s dismissal, but revealed on Tuesday that they had been unsuccessful.
Deeney, 29, will now be unavailable for Watford’s Premier League matches against Brighton, Leicester, Swansea and Manchester City over the festive period.
Deeney, who has scored just twice this season, was banned for three matches back in November after he admitted a charge of violent conduct against Stoke.
The Watford skipper appeared to dig his thumbs into the face of Allen following a clash with the Wales international in the closing moments of the fixture.
His 33rd-minute dismissal on Saturday marked Watford’s fourth red card of the season, but manager Marco Silva insisted his side, who are without a win from their last five matches, do not have a disciplinary problem.
“No, I am sure about that,” the Portuguese said. ”Until now you can talk about the red card for Miguel Britos (against Brighton in August). I agree in that moment, but for the others I am sure we don’t have an issue.”
Watford will travel to Brighton on Saturday as they bid to get their stuttering campaign back on track.