Watford 4 Stockport County 1: Boothroyd rewarded for putting faith in Moses

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The Independent Football

Having negotiated the potentially tricky but ultimately fragile FA Cup obstacle that was Stockport County, Aidy Boothroyd now has the less tangible transfer window to negotiate his way through with relegation, which is already probable, the consequence should he fail.

The Watford manager has brought in three players, one of whom, Moses Ashikodi, made his debut and scored the fourth goal against the League Two side on Saturday. Should Collins John agree to his £3.25m transfer from Fulham to Watford this week that will take Boothroyd closer still to the six players he has identified he needs to bring in this month.

He said: "Now we've got a few more pounds in the coffers it's important to get more depth because in matches, even after 60 to 70 minutes, you see opposition teams bring on international players. We can't do that and we need to be able to do that. It's important to have depth up front and we've not had that and it's a nice position to be in. I just wish we had [the injured] Marlon King playing as well."

The Hornets' situation is perilous. The Premiership's bottom club are 10 points away from safety and have only won once in the League all season.

Yet Boothroyd is arguably the Premiership's most optimistic manager too, always trying to extract a positive from the bleakest of situations, which is what his club faces now.

His approach to players is interesting, too. Having brought to the club King, a player who spent time in jail, he has now signed Ashikodi, who was sacked from Millwall for brandishing a knife in training.

The 19-year-old is already with his fifth club, having also been to West Ham, Gillingham on loan and Rangers, which was his last port of call. The England youth international, who counts Theo Walcott and Micah Richards among his friends, is looking to do what King did, and give Boothroyd something back on his investment.

He said: "I have grown up a lot. I listen a lot. Back then [at Millwall] I was a big fish in a small pond. Maybe I am not as good as I thought I was. But I have to dig in and work harder. The manager has shown a lot of faith in me and I have to repay that."

David Poole gave the visitors a surprise lead in this encounter but two goals from Malky Mackay and one from Tommy Smith saw off Jim Gannon's side before Ashikodi's tap-in. Between here and May, that is as easy as it will get for Boothroyd.

Goals: Poole (23) 0-1; Mackay (31) 1-1; Smith (48) 2-1; Mackay (75) 3-1; Ashikodi (82) 4-1.

Watford (4-4-2): Foster; Mariappa, DeMerit, Mackay (Doyley, 84), Stewart; Smith, Francis (Diagouraga, 62), Bangura, McNamee; Henderson, Ashikodi. Substitutes not used: Lee (gk), Powell, Young.

Stockport County (4-4-2): Spencer; Clare, Owen, Tunnicliffe, Griffin; Poole, Dinning (Rowe, 81), Taylor, Gleeson; Dickinson (Le Fondre, 66), Malcolm (Bramble, h-t). Substitutes not used: Deasy (gk), Raynes.

Referee: L Probert (Gloucestershire).

Booked: Watford Mariappa, Ashikodi.

Man of the match: Smith.

Attendance: 11,745.