Posh were dealt a blow last weekend when an ankle injury forced Payne out of the action at Huddersfield but, despite initial fears of a more severe injury, the on-loan Gillingham midfielder has been given a 50-50 chance of featuring on Saturday.
Manager Darren Ferguson has options should Payne miss out.
He said: "I've got others that can come in.
"We've got a lot of players who can play in midfield/attacking positions and it's something I might have to utilise on Saturday as Watford have got good footballers in the middle of the pitch, but not great physical strength so I wouldn't be overly concerned about playing someone like Danny Swanson, Joe Newell or Alex Pritchard in there.
"But you've got to get the balance and that's something that I've got to get right on Saturday."
Michael Bostwick was expected to return after a three-match absence with a hamstring injury but the midfielder, who has been playing as a centre-half, suffered a setback in his recovery this week and will remain on the sidelines.
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