Watford have completed the signing of Rochdale winger Will Buckley for an undisclosed fee.

The 20-year-old, who can as play up front, was a first team regular at the League Two club and has made 69 appearances since making his debut in 2008, scoring 13 goals.

Buckley, who is 6ft tall and was 49th in the Times’ list of top 50 rising stars last year, has not played since November 24 due to injury and missed Rochdale’s 4-1 win at Cheltenham on Saturday with a thigh strain he picked up in the warm-up.

The winger, who was released by Oldham Athletic as a teenager, has signed on a three-and-a-half year contract.

Last week Malky Mackay said he didn’t expect to make any further permanent signings but yesterday’s £500,000 loan from director David Fransen is likely to have aided the move.

Watford’s number one priority remains an experienced centre half but for that the club are sure to target the loan market.