Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd hailed Tommy Smith after the forward's 50th goal for the club guided the Hornets to a much-needed 2-1 Coca-Cola Championship win over Preston.
Smith's goal put Watford ahead in the 21st minute after Jon Harley had equalised Sean St Ledger's opener for Alan Irvine's visitors and Boothroyd believes he may struggle to keep hold of him in January.
"We had to defend for our lives in the second half but thankfully the work that we did saw us through," he said.
"I'm thrilled for Tommy because he's been outstanding for us this season.
"He's chipping in with goals and he has the ability to manipulate the ball in tight situations.
"He's also got work rate as well. You need soldiers and artists in your team and it's rare that you have a player with both.
"He's proven himself in the Premier League as he was our best player that year.
"We will always be a selling club but I want to keep hold of my best players."
Former Hornets chairman Elton John claimed this week that the club were "heading for catastrophe" but Boothroyd refused to be drawn on the club's future.
He simply said: "People have opinions and they are always going to have that."
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