Javi Gracia confirmed Christian Kabasele is set for a prolonged period out with injury and expects to have only 17 fit first team players available against West Ham.

The Belgian centre-back pulled up with a hamstring complaint late on in the 0-0 draw with Stoke City and has been unavailable since.

Gracia couldn’t give a timeline for Kabasele’s return simply saying he expected him to be out for some time yet.

The news provides a further blow to the new Watford head coach, who has been without a host of key players including Heurelho Gomes, Miguel Britos, Younes Kaboul, Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Cleverley.

That situation remains the same for the visit to London Stadium tomorrow, but Gracia is content working with the players at his disposal.

“Kabasele will be out more time,” Gracia said. “I think we are in the same position as the last game.

“It is the same situation. We have 17 players available and we need an Under-23.

“I wish these players come up back strong, but I focus on our situation now and the players who are available. I will try to get a good performances with the players that we have.”

While Watford’s immediate injury crisis remains dire, a number of players are nearing a return to action.

Gracia, therefore, hopes to have a bolstered squad by the time Watford return from a two-week break without a game at the end of the month.

“This week, Miguel Britos is training with the team but he’s not available,” he said. “Next week maybe other players will come back. I hope Kiko, I hope Will Hughes.

“Gomes is training and maybe three players will come back into the team next week.”