Jay DeMerit and Don Cowie need late fitness checks ahead of Watford's vital clash with Reading at Vicarage Road.

Both players missed Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at QPR and captain DeMerit remains a major doubt with a stomach injury while midfielder Cowie is struggling with a calf problem.

However, the Hornets will be boosted by the return of striker Heidar Helguson, who was ineligible in midweek as he is on loan from Rangers.

Full-back Lloyd Doyley recovered from a hamstring injury to play the second half at Loftus Road and should reclaim his starting spot.

Winger Will Buckley has also been nursing a hamstring problem and could struggle to play again this season.

The Hornets need one win from their remaining two games to guarantee their survival.

Reading defender Matt Mills will return from suspension for the trip.

Mills has missed the last four games after being shown his second red card of the season at Ipswich earlier this month.

However, he may struggle to regain his place in Brian McDermott's side as replacement Alex Pearce has impressed in defence while also scoring in the last two games.

Winger James Henry picked up an injury for the reserves in midweek and is being checked but may be fit to take his place on the bench.

Club captain Ivar Ingimarsson is out with a hamstring injury and Marek Matejovsky is still out after a stomach operation.

Noel Hunt and Chris Armstrong remain sidelined with long-term knee problems as the Royals return to Vicarage Road for the first time since they were awarded the `phantom goal' by referee Stuart Attwell in September 2008.

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