Doherty unlikely to fit bill for Watford

Michael BaileyA lack of money could put paid to one route back to the Championship for former Norwich City skipper Gary Doherty. The centre-back, who was released by the Canaries at the end of last week after six years with the club, was linked with a move to join Malky Mackay's Watford last August as Doherty found his early chances limited under Paul Lambert.Michael Bailey

A lack of money could put paid to one route back to the Championship for former Norwich City skipper Gary Doherty.

The centre-back, who was released by the Canaries at the end of last week after six years with the club, was linked with a move to join Malky Mackay's Watford last August as Doherty found his early chances limited under Paul Lambert.

At one point the City boss conceded Doherty's City career was all but over - but a loan move to Vicarage Road did not come off, allowing the man dubbed 'Ginger Pele' the chance to play a big part in City's eventual march to the League One title.

However, the Republic of Ireland international has been told he will not be offered an extension to his current Norwich deal, which expires at the end of June - and a second chance to join the Hornets may also be unforthcoming. Watford were deep in the financial mire earlier in the season and although the club did find a surer footing, the loss of experienced squad members left Mackay's side fighting to preserve their Championship status.


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And the lack of old heads is unlikely to change for next season - meaning Doherty may have to look elsewhere for his next footballing home.

Mackay said: 'From late August until now it is amazing the amount of experience that is no longer here but that is where we are financially. The supporters and the people generally at Watford know where we are. They want the club to go forward but they also want there to be a football club.

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'The fact is we are under financial difficulties and we have to go with the youngsters and Academy boys and try and bring in the odd bit of experience where we can, but they cost a lot of money and that is just not available to us.

'I am delighted we can push the Academy boys through but when you do that, you know consistency is something you do not get and that has happened at times this year. When you end up playing 12 games in six weeks, that is where the consistency suffers.'

Things are unlikely to get easier for the Watford board next season, after season ticket sales fell 2,000 short of the 10,000 mark for the campaign just gone. The club's head of ticketing, Michael Jones, said: 'The final sales total is less than we budgeted for which, whilst not insurmountable, does have an impact financially and means we will need to re-evaluate some of our planning for next season.'

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