Watford are still hopeful of persuading Heurelho Gomes to stay at the club, despite the goalkeeper saying he was 99 per cent sure he would be retiring. 

The Brazilian has been an important part of the Hornets' FA Cup campaign that has seen them reach the final for the first time in 35 years.

Thursday evening's awards ceremony saw Players' Player of the Year Ben Foster use his speech to issue a plea to Gomes to stay at the club a bit longer and head coach Javi Gracia echoed those sentiments ahead of Watford's final game of the season against West Ham.

"I would like he will stay with us more time," said Gracia. 

"In the moment he said it would be probably his last year. Now when the league finishes we have to speak with him try to know his opinion and try to decide what is better for everybody."

Depsite Gomes' strong performances in the FA Cup this season, his game time has still been limited to cup matches.

He also harbours ambitions of becoming both a pastor and a football agent back in South America that would allow him to spend more time with his family.

There had been some talk of possibly keeping Gomes at the club for his experience and personality, with Foster earlier on this season saying he would be a good figure to keep, even if he is not playing. 

However, Gracia said if he keeps the goalkeeper, he wants him to play.

He said: "He’s important for this club because he’s a very good goalkeeper, it’s the main reason to think Heurelho has to stay here and after that you have to know his experience.

"His attitude is really good, his behaviour is really good for the team but knowing as he’s showed in FA Cup when he played, he’s always ready to play and always ready to help the team."

In addition to Gomes, Gracia spoke of the importance of retaining both his strongest players and keeping the squad's spirit for next season.

The head coach said he has had positive conversations with the club's owners about retaining players and strengthening the team in order to build for the future.

He said: "It will be good for us to keep the most part of the players, this way you can keep the spirit we have.

"In all the clubs in all the teams in all the groups, always you need to change something and I’m sure we have some changes, but we try to keep our best players and the most part of them and after that try to bring good players to help us be stronger.

"We’re thinking in the same direction, there’s nothing different, we want to keep the best players and try to know what some players are thinking about their future, but in this moment I think we can keep our squad and try to improve with some players in some positions who can help us in the future to be a stronger.

"First of all we have to finish and speak with some players and know what they think about that and after decide what’s better for the club."