Brighton & Hove Albion boss Sami Hyypia feels that any one of at least 12 teams are in with a realistic chance to win promotion to the Premier League this season.
Albion travel to Vicarage Road this afternoon and Hyypia believes the Hornets are one of a dozen sides with genuine promotion credentials and will be in the promotion mix towards the end of the season.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “I think they are very good going forward, like they were last year and they have kept that going.
"For sure they have a chance, like 10, 11 or 12 other teams in this division. It’s a tight league and before the season you put the favourites on the list, but everyone has a chance.
“Burnley showed last year that a little bit of an outsider can do it. Now they are in the Premier League so anything is possible.
“We need to affect what we do well and make sure that everyone is up for the game both physically and mentally; and they do the right things on the pitch.”
The Albion manager is also backing Joao Teixeira to perform on a regular basis and says he will learn to deal with the greater expectations placed on him.
“I think with young players there are times when you can see the inconsistency, and with experience they learn how to be consistent.
“It’s always difficult because you are actually raising the bar yourself with your performances and you also raise the bar for the expectations.
"If there are times when you are not really hitting the bar or go near your top level, then people think you are a bad player and you are playing very badly, but that’s how it goes in football.
“For young players this is quite usual and it’s like a rollercoaster. When he gets his consistency so he can play every game at a high level then everything will be fine.
“He is playing in a position where it depends on his teammates and I think on Tuesday night he was very happy to play between the lines because he got the ball there and could be dangerous.
“As soon as he knows what he has to do to keep playing at the same level, then the better it will be for him.”
Hyypia has praised the work ethic of fellow summer signings, Gary Gardner and Adrian Colunga, and feels they have adapted well to his style of play.
“Yeah I’m very pleased. I know that the midfield role is a bit different to what he [Gardner] is used to. He picked up the things we needed him to do very quickly and plays with a good mentality.
“He is training well and has a very professional attitude towards football, so I’m very pleased that he is here.
“For Adrian, it’s not always easy to make a step to a new country and a new club, so I spoke with him before the Nottingham Forest game. He said that he is very happy off the pitch and his family have settled in well.
“The Forest game was the best game I’ve seen from him and that’s the way to continue. I know that there’s more in him than what he has shown and he knows that as well.”