Young forward Jorge Hurtado has joined League Two side Gillingham on loan for the remainder of the season.

The 20-year-old Colombian Under-20 international returned to Vicarage Road at the start of January after spending the latter part of 2023 on loan with MLS side New York Red Bulls.

He was immediately thrust into action with a 20-minute substitute appearance in the FA Cup Third Round game against Chesterfield at Vicarage Road on January 6, and got the assist for Tom Dele-Bashiru’s decisive goal in a 2-1 win.

Since then Hurtado has been an unused substitute in the Championship games away at QPR and Bristol City.

The Watford Observer understands this isn’t a last-minute move, and the plan to give Hurtado lower division experience was one that had been agreed a while ago.

One decisive factor in Hurtado heading to Kent may well have been the strong former-Watford influence at the Priestfield Stadium.

Long-serving midfielder Kenny Jackett, who was a guest at Sunday’s game with Southampton, is Gillingham’s Director of Football, while another ex-Hornets midfielder, Andy Hessenthaler, is their Head of Recruitment and former Golden Boys defender Keith Millen is the club’s Head of Academy Coaching.

The Gills head coach is former Tottenham, Birmingham and Leicester City midfielder Stephen Clemence.

They are currently 10th in League Two and play at home to Walsall on Saturday.