Hearts look to former Baggie free agent to give their form a jolt


Hearts’ five-game winning streak to open their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign seems a long way away now, after the Jam Tarts’ goalless draw with Celtic at the weekend extended their winless run in the competition to four.

However, manager Robbie Neilson is hoping a new free-agent arrival will be the shot in the arm his troops need as they look to regain their form.

Jerome Thomas, formerly of Charlton, West Brom and Crystal Palace, has been training with the Edinburgh club after being released by the Eagles in the summer and Neilson has opened contract talks with the winger after being suitably impressed.

Although Neilson has already warned Thomas that he cannot expect to be handed a Premier League’ wage package, the Hearts boss hopes to attract the 32-year-old to the club by offering him the chance to cut his teeth in coaching.

“He’s getting to an age now that he wants to start focusing on himself and his future development. It’s something we can look at,” Neilson said.

Initially, Thomas would join strictly as a player at Tynecastle, but could move onto the backroom staff if and when the time comes.

Having made just 10 appearances for the Eagles across the last two seasons, the chance to play regularly, while keeping an eye on his future, will no doubt appeal greatly to Thomas, who needs the move as much as his prospective club.

The last time Thomas was a regular in any side was back in 2011/12 for the Baggies, when making 31 appearances in all competitions.

Thomas has never been a trusted source of goals. His career high in all competitions is eight, scored for West Brom when they were in the Championship during 2009/10. However, Neilson will certainly hope he is able to change that in Scotland should the Jam Tarts secure their man.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.