SEAN Dyche's success with Burnley over the last five years has come as no surprise to his former Watford charge Adrian Mariappa.

The 31-year-old was a centre back in the Hornets side Dyche took charge of the 2011/12 season, steering them to 11th in the Championship.

A change of ownership that summer led to Dyche's time at Vicarage Road ending after one season, while Mariappa almost moved on.

While Dyche eventually took the reins at Burnley and has guided the Clarets into the Premier League over the past five years, Mariappa returned to Watford in 2016 and will come up against his former boss at Turf Moor this Saturday.

The former Reading and Crystal Palace defender is pleased to see Dyche enjoying success in East Lancashire.

“I am delighted for him. I had a really good time under him here and thoroughly enjoyed myself,” Mariappa told the Watford Observer.

“You could see at that time that he was always going to go and do good things. He get the credit he deserves because he is a top, top manager.

“It is not for me to comment [on links with bigger jobs], but obviously he has done an unbelievable job at Burnley through the years.”

Watford sit just one place and three points below the Clarets in the table and Mariappa is expecting a battle between two of the league's surprise packages this season on Saturday.

“I don’t think our battling nature has ever been in question this season and we have had to battle at other places this season," he said.

“We have shown great character and we know it will be an extremely tough game but another challenge we are looking forward to.”