BY JOHN PAYNE

Metro (UK) - - MATCH ZONE -

COMETH the hour, cometh the man. In a post-lock­down world where the sides at the bot­tom have hardly been able to reg­is­ter a point, a mo­ment of sheer class from Danny Wel­beck may well prove piv­otal for Wat­ford.

That won­der­ful over­head kick against Nor­wich in mid­week was the 29-year-old’s first league goal in al­most two years and the per­sonal im­por­tance goes with­out say­ing.

‘I’m pleased for Danny but I know he will just see this as a step in the right di­rec­tion for him­self hav­ing had a frus­trat­ing time with in­jury,’ said Hor­nets boss Nigel Pear­son.

But it was at least as im­por­tant to his club – Wat­ford the first team among the bot­tom four to reg­is­ter a win since the restart, al­beit against the rock-bot­tom side – and means vic­tory over New­cas­tle to­mor­row will al­most cer­tainly keep them up.

Graeme Souness of­ten makes the point about how sides with noth­ing to play for are the ones you want to play at this stage of the sea­son.

But does that re­ally ap­ply to the Mag­pies at the mo­ment, at a time when man­ager Steve Bruce seems to be get­ting ev­ery last drop out of a rather eclec­tic group of play­ers?

If ever a man­ager was able to show in­com­ing own­ers he was in tune with his play­ers, it would be Bruce given the mostly im­pres­sive way the Toon have re­turned to ac­tion.

At the heart of that has been French winger Al­lan Saint-Max­imin, the man Bruce de­scribes with­out too much mod­esty as ‘the sign­ing of the sea­son’. He has a point, how­ever.

You can’t help feel­ing the £16mil­lion sum­mer buy from Nice would not look out of place at any Premier League club, a mav­er­ick tal­ent they have not seen on Ty­ne­side since the likes of Paul Gas­coigne, Chris Wad­dle and David Gi­nola.

‘He’s like a kid in the play­ground with a ball,’ said Bruce of his star man, who he will be hop­ing is fit for the trip to Vicarage Road af­ter miss­ing Wed­nes­day’s 5-0 de­feat at Manch­ester City through in­jury.

With Miguel Alm­iron and Ja­maal Las­celles also on the side­lines, there was no way back af­ter con­ced­ing two early goals and they were a shadow of the side that had gone six Premier League games with­out de­feat, four of them since the restart.

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