The Hornets are interested in signing Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick, the Watford Observer understands.

The 22-year-old was a regular for the Rams last season, making 35 appearances despite missing a three-month period due to injury.

Hendrick is contracted until 2015 so the Hornets would need to pay a fee for the player.

He started 11 of their final 15 games last season, and three of those missed were following a hip injury, but the Rams are hoping to sign George Thorne permanently and also have highly-rated Will Hughes, Craig Bryson and John Eustace competing for places.

Hendrick is a Republic of Ireland international and made his fifth outing for his country on Saturday when he played the full 90 minutes during the 0-0 draw with Italy.

The Irishman had trials at several clubs as a youngster, including Manchester United, Celtic and West Bromwich Albion, but was often deemed too small and also suffered with Osgood-Schlatter disease at the age of 14.

He earned a move to Derby County as a 16 year old and made his debut in April 2011.

Hendrick has gone on to make 107 starts and 22 substitute appearances for the Rams, scoring 15 times. Two of those goals came against Watford in his side's 4-2 victory in April.