Abdallah Sima is already exciting Stoke City coaches as a potential danger man as he prepares for a quickfire third appearance.
Sima only met his team-mates last Tuesday but made a cameo the following day against Barnsley and started at Derby on Saturday. He is expected to feature again tonight in the Carabao Cup at Watford (7.45pm).
The 20-year-old striker is not the finished article, but there is belief he can make an impact.
Assistant boss Dean Holden said: “Straight away you can see the intent which he plays with. He’s so direct and positive. He’s quick and he’s comfortable in one v one situations. He wants to really make things happen.
“He’s still very young and very raw. Up until he was 18 he was still playing in Senegal, so he hasn’t been coached in the same way the Academy players are in this country.
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“They have been in the system since they were seven or eight years old, but he’s always just played football growing up and you can see that he loves the ball. He just wants to be dangerous in attack and a threat in behind as well. He’s a really exciting player.”
If Sima plays against Watford it will be his 11th game of the season for three different sides – Slavia Prague, Senegal and Stoke – in six different competitions. He has already played in the Czech league, the Champions League, the Europa League, a World Cup qualifier and the Championship.
Stoke will help him settle on and off the pitch.
Holden added: “He’s been a bright spark in the short time we’ve seen him. He’s different to what we have in the squad – it was a baptism of fire at the weekend in his first game in the Championship.
“He had a whirlwind 10 days coming back from Senegal and meeting his new team-mates. It’s really important that off the pitch he can become really comfortable with his lifestyle, and surroundings and get to know his team-mates.
On the pitch, (he’ll have to get used to) the speed of the play in the Championship and the physicality at times. He’s quick and he’s very strong, so I don’t see him having any problems settling in.
“He’s just becoming comfortable with his surroundings and the training environment and the way we operate. He’s getting up to speed with the way that we play without the ball and the way we press from the front.
“It won’t happen overnight, but he’s a very likeable lad and we’re delighted to have him.”
Steven Fletcher (ankle) is still out while Joe Allen (toe) has started light training and is hoping to be in contention for the Championship home game against Hull this weekend.
- Watford completed the Championship double over Stoke City last season, this after a five game winless run against the Potters (D1 L4).
- This will be just the third League Cup tie between Watford and Stoke following the Potters’ progression from round two in 1967-68, and the Hornets prevailing from a quarter-final replay in 1978-79 – only one of two times Watford have reached the semi-finals of the competition (also in 2004-05).
- Watford have won each of their last three EFL Cup matches at Vicarage Road, their best run on home soil since a run of four straight wins between August 2007 and September 2008.
- When reaching the third round, Stoke have progressed from nine of their last 13 ties, managing to stop a sequence of four straight eliminations at this stage last season, going on to reach the quarter-finals.
- Since his debut in the competition for West Ham back in November 2016, only Dominic Calvert-Lewin (10) has scored more League Cup goals than Watford striker Ashley Fletcher (9), four of which have come in his last four appearances.