Watford to be rivals to Middlesbrough to sign Sunderland striker Danny Graham

LOAN RANGER:  Boro's Danny Graham.
LOAN RANGER: Boro's Danny Graham.

WATFORD want to re-sign Sunderland striker Danny Graham, either on loan or on a permanent deal.

The Hornets are making an ambitious bid for automatic promotion next season after their 13th place finish last season - a dozen points outside the play-off places.

And they see their former favourite as an important part of the jigsaw after a decent loan spell at Middlesbrough last season in which the Durham man scored six goals in 18 appearances.

The 28-year-old spent the best spell of his career with the Hornets and the Championship side are believed to have made a formal approach for the player.

Graham is keen for a fresh start after finding his career stalled at Sunderland on the back of 13 goalless appearances for the Wearsiders.

And it has been suggested he would be happy to return to Vicarage Road if Sunderland are prepared to let him go.

Graham scored 41 goals in 98 games between 2009 and 2011, and was the club’s player of the year in his second season there.

His achievements at Watford earned him a £3.5m move to Swansea City, from where he joined the Black Cats for £5m in January in the final months of Martin O’Neill’s reign.

Having failed to make the grade at the Stadium of Light, he was loaned out to Steve Bruce’s Hull City at the start of last season but scored only one goal – against former club Swansea – before dropping down to the Championship and Middlesbrough.

Watford have made the first move for his signature but Middlesbrough could still be among those who come in for him with Teessiders boss Aitor Karanka suggesting the club would be interested in taking him back next season