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By ESPN Staff

Boothroyd remains confident of great escape

Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd today claimed his team could still achieve 'mission impossible' and stay in the Premiership this season.

Boothroyd's men enjoy a welcome break from league competition this weekend, when they host League Two club Stockport in the FA Cup third round.

But the priority for Boothroyd's team is still to stay in the top flight, where they find themselves bottom of the table, 10 points adrift of safety after winning only one of their 20 matches so far.

'It is mission impossible - but I think we can do it,' Boothroyd said. 'We are in a far stronger position than we were four months ago, and it is a gradual process.

'I still don't want to talk about going down, because I still do not think it will happen. I firmly believe we can survive in the Premiership - especially if I can manage to bring in the players I have earmarked.'

Boothroyd has already signed young forward Moses Ashikodi for a nominal fee from Rangers, and is keen to add more players as quickly as possible.

The Hornets have scored only 12 league goals this term and with centre-forward Marlon King out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, increasing his attacking options remains crucial for Boothroyd.

The Hornets boss has been linked with loan moves for Manchester United's Alan Smith and West Ham striker Carlton Cole, as well as up-and-coming forwards Billy Sharp and Will Hoskins, who play in League One for Scunthorpe and Rotherham respectively.

Boothroyd continued: 'I have learned so much from spending five months in this league, and I know what I would do differently if I could start again.

'The experience has added so much to me as a person, as it has to the club and to the fans.

'You can have great intentions and you can read as many books as you want, but you never know what (the Premiership) is going to be like until you experience it.

'I wanted to sign players during August, but we had to wait and wait. I want to bring in players quickly now, because of the position we are in.'

Boothroyd could be without skipper Gavin Mahon and defender Dan Shittu due to injury for the match against Stockport, but has pledged to field his strongest XI against Jim Gannon's side.

But Boothroyd - who will not appeal against the sending-off of forward Tamas Priskin in the 0-0 draw at Fulham on New Year's Day - is under no illusions regarding the relative importance of the FA Cup and Premiership survival.

The 35-year-old added: 'It is nice to be favourites for once. We are not the underdogs any more, which we have been for virtually every game this season.

'A different mentality is required, but there is no complacency. Every year there is a scalp, and we have to make sure it is not us.

'I love the FA Cup and everything that goes with it. But if I were given the chance of staying in the Premiership or winning the FA Cup, I would choose to stay in the Premiership.'