The Premier League season may be 10 months in duration but Saturday’s trip to Leicester City marks the start of a hectic period that will see more than one-fifth of the campaign crammed into 33 days.

The Hornets are due to play three more matches in December than any other month of the campaign and with it rapidly followed by a January 2 trip to Bournemouth as well, those eight games will go a long way to shaping how Javi Gracia’s men will fare come May.

Will Hughes knows how demanding the next month will be, but is upbeat about Watford’s prospects.

“Every Christmas period is a big challenge and it makes and breaks some teams’ seasons,” he said following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.

“We’re ready for it, we’ve got a squad capable of competing in every game and we’re confident going into it.”

Given the number of games on the horizon, the news from the treatment room is encouraging.

Troy Deeney got a first 90 minutes under his belt since his injury lay-off against the Reds, Daryl Janmaat and Tom Cleverley are continuing their respective recoveries, while the Hornets have a new forward option at their disposal after Adalberto Penaranda received his work permit.

“It’s only good for the team,” Hughes said of more players being available. “That healthy competition, it makes everyone train that extra bit harder and it’s good for us in the long run because you know that if you’re not performing to standards there’s going to be someone else that’s taking your place.”

The former Derby County midfielder is also pleased Gracia will be extending his stay at Vicarage Road by signing a new contract.

Chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury has confirmed the paperwork will be signed this week and Hughes said: “The start we’ve had and the position we’re in is deserving of being rewarded with his contract.

“I think for consistency and the sate we’re in at the moment it’s good that he’s putting pen to paper on his deal.”