Former Watford favourite Nick Wright says he is not surprised Will Buckley has struggled to complete 90 minutes in matches this season.

Buckley, who picked up the Football League Young Player of the Month for December this week, has finished just two of the 18 matches he has started this campaign.

And Wright, who was taken off 22 times in 34 games in which he started during his first season at Vicarage Road, believes playing on the wing is the toughest position in football.

“If you’re working hard in that position you’re covering more ground than any other position on the pitch – it’s proven in stats,” said Wright.

“If you have got someone working hard in that position it’s no wonder that they get knackered after 70 minutes. That was the same with me and Graham Taylor, he wanted me to run hard from the start and if I needed replacing then so be it.

“I think Will Buckley looks promising, he’s a strong runner and he’s tall so he can get much stronger in terms of physique. He’ll be a handful to play against with pace, strength and good football ability.

“You get some wingers who stay out wide and score one goal a season but that’s no use to a team because that puts all the pressure on the centre-forwards. If you get a winger who can pop up with seven or eight goals then it’s a massive help to the team.”

Wright is currently working as a training manager at Phones 4U in Birmingham after retiring from the game in 2003 due to a serious knee injury.

The 35-year-old has watched Watford play numerous times this season and believes there are a lot of similarities between Malky Mackay’s team and the promotion-winning side from 1999.

“They are young, good spirited and have great fitness levels; whether they’ll have enough football to go up I don’t know,” he said.

“Play-offs would be a fantastic achievement and they have a good chance. In a weird way they are similar to the team that we had. There are no star names worth £5m but they have a team that work well together and they’re effective.

“I just wonder whether there is enough strength in the squad if they got some serious injuries which was what happened to us when we were in the Premiership.

“At the start of the season you looked at the squad and survival would have been the first goal but now it’s whether they can get into the play-offs.

“They are young, hungry players who are on the way up and most of the team at Watford have careers going in the right direction. They have come from either reserve team football, youth football or lower league football.

“I think it’s a healthy position for a club. You start to struggle when you have ex-Premier League players who are on the way down, who have a couple of years left and their legs have gone.”

Although Wright is unsure whether Watford can sustain a play-off charge, the former midfielder, who famously scored a overhead kick in the Wembley play-off final against Bolton Wanderers 12 years ago, is certain the Hornets need to hang on to Mackay.

The Scot was heavily linked with the vacant post at Burnley earlier this month before the Clarets appointed Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

“He has had no money to spend at all so what he’s achieved is fantastic. I speak regularly to Alec Chamberlain and he speaks very highly of Malky.

“When I’ve met him he speaks very well, he understands what he wants from the game and I could imagine him being a really good manager to play for. Watford need to keep hold of him because other clubs are going to be interested in him.

“The more successful he is the chances are that a Premier League club will come in for him, whether that’s in Scotland or England. As an ambitious manager there might be an offer that could be too good for him to turn down.

“The reality is as a football manager you have got to take your breaks as they come because five or six defeats on the trot and the fans are calling for your head. There isn’t a lot of loyalty the other way.”