FOREST GREEN have pulled off a sensational coup by signing former Premiership star Al Bangura.

Forest Green boss Dave Hockaday has known the 23-year-old since working with the player in Watford's academy, and the close relationship between the pair rubber-stamped a two-year deal for the midfield enforcer at the New Lawn on Friday.

The Sierra Leone international made 62 appearances for Watford, 16 of them in the Premier League in 2006/07, and he was voted Supporters' Player of the Year the previous season as he helped them to play-off final glory.

He had been playing for Gabala in Azerbaijan, managed by former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams, after a short spell in the Turkish league with Mersin.

In 2007 Bangura was threatened with deportation to his homeland, but a national campaign was launched to keep him in the UK and received backing from then home secretary David Blunkett and Watford president Sir Elton John.

Bangura eventually won his case on appeal after fearing he would have been killed if he returned to his homeland.