July 16, 2020 / 3:01 PM / 22 days ago

Deeney keen to fight relegation battle despite knee issue, says Pearson

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Watford v Newcastle United - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - July 11, 2020 Watford manager Nigel Pearson before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Mike Egerton

(Reuters) - Watford captain Troy Deeney has an ongoing issue with his knee but the striker is determined to battle through the pain threshold and help the club in their battle for Premier League survival, manager Nigel Pearson said on Thursday.

Deeney, who underwent knee surgery at the start of the season, has played all six games since the restart and was on target twice against Newcastle United in Saturday’s come-from-behind victory.

Watford are 17th in the standings, three points above the relegation zone, and play 16th-placed West Ham United on Friday with both teams fighting for safety with three rounds of fixtures left.

“Troy’s got an ongoing problem like a lot of players have, so I suppose the choice is whether you want to play or not, but he’s very keen to play,” Pearson told a virtual news conference ahead of Friday’s game against West Ham.

“We’ve all got different pain and discomfort thresholds. I think the point is that he’s aware of his knee, his situation, and he wants to play.

“When you get to this stage of the season, especially with the types of pressures we’re under, when players show a keenness to be a part of it, I think that’s really good.”

Watford and West Ham are only separated by goal difference and Pearson said he expects David Moyes’ side to give them a tough fight after recent wins over Chelsea and Norwich City.

“They’re doing what we’re doing, that’s fighting for their lives,” Pearson added. “It’s what I would expect. They’ve got good players, I think they’ve found some decent form of late and we know it’ll be a tough game.

“On the face of it there’s an awful lot riding on it, but it’s also important that our players are able to go out there and free themselves up and play.”

Reporting by Manasi Pathak; Editing by Toby Davis

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