The England international has worked his way back to full fitness, and edged Anders Lindegaard out of the 18, after the Dane had signed a new contract to the summer of 2019 on Thursday.
Nick Pope retained his starting berth on the back of his performances in the absence of Heaton, which have seen him earn a first call up to Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad.
And Dyche explained the situation: “It was a tough decision again. Anders has been fantastic, Legzs (Adam Legzdins) has been pushing all the way, but Tom, over a longer period, a top goalie, and a top servant, so that has to be recognised.”
Pope was again in good form at Watford, making a number of fine saves, including one in particular in the first half from Argentina international winger Roberto Pereyra, and Dyche added: “I am pretty loyal at times, equally, it’s not rocket science.
“Popey has performed well again, and Tom will be respectful of that, because he knows that’s the way it works.
“He made two big saves first half, and nice hands at the end when they were raining it in from everywhere, he continues to mature and grow - but not physically, because he’s an absolute unit!”