Watford to ask veteran Heurelho Gomes for one more year after FA Cup final

• Back-up goalkeeper likely to face Manchester City at Wembley
• It is good for us to be outsiders, adds midfielder Étienne Capoue

Javi Gracia will attempt to convince the 38-year-old goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to spend one final season at Watford before making good on a pledge to hang up his gloves and become a pastor, with the conversation likely to be one of the manager’s priorities once the dust has settled on Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Gomes has become an extraordinarily popular figure at the club since his arrival five years ago and though he has not played any league games since the signing of Ben Foster last summer he has started every match in the League and FA Cups. He has said he is 99% sure that this will be his final season, with a likely appearance at Wembley thus destined to be his last game.

But on Wednesday Gracia pledged to attempt to change Gomes’s mind. “I would like to speak with him and the club and see if he is able to carry on next season. We have to speak about that.”

Gracia said that he had decided on his starting XI but refused to confirm the identity of the goalkeeper, though Foster has previously insisted he would “absolutely refuse” to take Gomes’s place and the Brazilian’s performances on Watford’s road to Wembley have done nothing to suggest his abilities are diminishing.

The presence of an ageing Brazilian, signed on a free transfer from Spurs, while his £35m compatriot, the 25-year-old Ederson, fills the same role for City would highlight the contrast in resources between the clubs, but though the Hornets have lost their past 10 games against these opponents Gracia insists this season’s 2-1 and 3-1 defeats have given him grounds for optimism.

“We lost both but I think we showed that we can beat them because we competed really well in different circumstances,” Gracia said. “In the first game we lost 2-1 and competed until the end. In the second one we kept the score 0-0 until the second half and [when] we conceded the first goal; the moment when the game changed, it was from an offside position. I think it showed us that it is possible.”

Étienne Capoue, Watford’s player of the season, feels that his team’s outsider status will feed their resolve, moreover. “Everyone says we have zero chance,” the midfielder said. “Everyone says Manchester City are the top team and will win easily. We are going to try and beat them and stay focused for 90 minutes; that is the main thing for us. It is good for us [to be outsiders]. Nobody expects us to win so we are working from our side very quietly.”

In a blow to believers in the FA Cup’s mythology as a global sporting phenomenon, Gracia and Capoue admitted they knew little about it before playing in England, though the Frenchman, who says he never watches football unless contractually obliged to do so, has plenty of other gaps in his sporting knowledge. “I didn’t know much about this competition before coming [here], to be honest,” said Gracia. “I watched some games on TV but I didn’t realise how important it was until I arrived. Now I can say that I know it and I’m very proud to be here. I will feel very proud of my team because this season has been amazing.”