Malky Mackay has urged Watford supporters to reflect on Aidy Boothroyd’s tenure at the club before deciding what reception to give the Coventry manager.
Boothroyd will be returning to Vicarage Road for the first time since leaving the club in 2008 and it remains to be seen whether the 39-year-old will be cheered or jeered by the home faithful.
But Mackay, who was given a coaching role at Watford by Boothroyd, believes Hornets’ fans should consider the successes he had during his three-and-a-half year tenure at the club.
“I think any manager coming back to a football club has either left because things didn’t go well and the club have parted company with you or things have gone very well and you’ve gone to pastures new and the fans think you’re a traitor," he said.
“I don’t think it’s ever easy to leave a football club. I think you got to look at it that Aidy was someone that got us into the Premiership (2006) and an FA Cup semi-final (2007). You have got to be balanced when you look at that.
“There is a little bit of added spice with Aidy coming back but it’s our first home game and it’s great to do it after the long pre-season that we’ve had.”
Watford have had an encouraging start to the new campaign, with Tuesday night’s 3-0 Carling Cup victory over Aldershot following the impressive 3-2 win over Norwich last Friday.
And Mackay believes the experience of players like Danny Graham and John Eustace has speeded up the progression of the younger members of the squad.
He added: “Graham has rubbed off on Marvin Sordell, the experience he’s gaining every week and the confidence he’s gaining is due to playing with Danny.
"It’s the same with Stephen [McGinn] who is playing in there with John Eustace. That’s one of the big benefits of these guys. They drag on the youngsters as well.”
Mackay revealed he is still looking to strengthen the squad and has urged Premier League clubs to look at Scott Loach’s call up to the England side this week as a reason to send their young stars on loan to Vicarage Road.
“It can only have a positive impact on the club having a Watford player called up to the England squad,” the Hornets boss explained.
“The fact we’ve had two goalkeepers called into the full England squad in the past three years speaks volumes for the football club
“We also got Michael Bryan who played for Northern Ireland this summer. Jonathon Bond played for Wales under-21s; something that is testament to the hard work of the club and bodes well for the future.
“You got players who got a chance to either play in the reserves or go out on loan. It’s about picking the right club. In the last couple of years the amount of youngsters that have gone on to play for England such as Jack Cork, Danny Rose and Adam Johnson is testament to that. If you’re young and you got potential then you got a chance.”
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.