Roy Hodgson is confident Watford stars Josh King and Ismaila Sarr can take the attacking burden off Emmanuel Dennis.
Watford welcome Hodgson’s former club Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road on Wednesday seeking to build on Saturday’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa – their first victory for three months.
Dennis scored the winner at Villa Park and one more goal would see him become the fourth Watford player to reach double figures in a Premier League season after Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Gerard Deulofeu.
The Nigerian has been directly involved in 58 per cent of Watford’s 24 league goals – nine goals and five assists.
But boss Hodgson, whose side are now four points from safety after his first win in charge, insists the fit-again Ismaila Sarr and Josh King can thrive in the Hornets’ remaining 14 games.
Asked about Watford’s dependence on Dennis, Hodgson said: “I think that’s pretty much the case whichever club you look at outside the top ones, who do seem to spread goals throughout the whole of the team.
“Once you go below the second half of the table that’s basically what you can say about most teams.
“Most teams have probably got one guy who can be regarded as the main provider and main scorer.
“But I do think we’ve got three here who are capable of putting that cloak on their shoulders.
“Sarr has been out injured for a long time and maybe he can come in and take some of that burden on his shoulders.
A special match. ✅
Never any sentiment. ❌
Roy Hodgson will face his old club tomorrow night when Crystal Palace visit Vicarage Road.#WATCRY
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) February 22, 2022
“Josh King is another proven scorer as well, so in actual fact I’m optimistic that there are goals and assists coming from more than just Dennis.”
Hodgson spent nearly four years at Crystal Palace before leaving Selhurst Park in May.
The 74-year-old guided Palace to 11th, 12th and two 14th-placed finishes and relied heavily on Wilfried Zaha.
Hodgson capped Zaha during his time as England manager but the winger later switched allegiance to play for the Ivory Coast, the country of his birth.
“I’ve said so much about Wilf over the years and my admiration and high esteem that I have for hasn’t dimmed,” Hodgson said.
“It would be nice to see him in slightly worse form that he is at the moment, because Crystal Palace are certainly lucky to have a player of that calibre.
“In terms of his talent and natural ability I would put him up there with the best players I have been lucky enough to work with.
“What Wilf has done is shouldered a very heavy burden for a number of years because he was always regarded as our main threat at Palace.
“The three players we used up front against Aston Villa have different weapons at their disposal in the same way that Wilf has.
“So I think teams analysing us might divide that threat a bit more equally.”