Hearts set to offer Joe Wright a contract after trialist completes 90 minutes against Bonnyrigg

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is set to offer Joe Wright a contract after the central defender played for 90 minutes in a 5-0 pre-season demolition of SPFL newcomers Bonnyrigg Rose.

The 27-year-old’s third appearance in five days, following outings against East Fife and Spartans, seems to have persuaded Neilson that the Englishman has something to offer.

The free agent has been spending pre-season with Hearts after completing his rehab following a year out with injury. After five years at Doncaster Rovers he missed the whole of last season, but has looked very assured on the ball since returning to action as a trialist in maroon, where he has been deployed in the middle of a back three.

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Neilson has been impressed and after watching him complete 90 minutes for the first time the Hearts boss revealed: “I’ll have a chat with him after and we’ll decide what we do. I think he’s done well and he’s been good to have about the place, so I’ll have a chat with him and see what’s he’s thinking.”

Hearts trialist Joe Wright challenges Bonnyrigg Rose's George Hunter during a 5-0 friendly win at Tynecastle Park. Picture: Roddy Scott / SNS

New signing Jorge Grant, who started on the left of a front three in a 3-4-3 formation, gave Hearts a 1-0 lead shortly before half time in front of 2,984 spectators at a sun-drenched Tynecastle Park.

Peter Haring’s penalty and goals from Liam Boyce, Aaron McEneff and Euan Henderson after the break gave Hearts a commanding victory against the fiesty part-timers, who were without a number of key players but defended well and made a game of it.

Indeed, it got a bit heated in the second half with the referee stepping in to diffuse a push and shove melee which broke out after a coming together, but both managers were pleased with the run-out.

“They have a few Hibbees in their team, so we expected that,” Neilson joked. “But that’s what you want in pre-season. One of the issues we have at the moment is that all the other teams outwith the European qualifiers are all playing competitive games now. We don’t have that so we need the games to be competitive, so I was l pleased with it was and I have no issues at all with it.”

Bonnyrigg Rose's Callum Connolly tackles Hearts midfielder Jorge Grant during the friendly at Tynescastle

Neilson, whose team now travel to Tranmere Rovers midweek in the first of four friendlies in 11 days against English opposition, described his own team’s performance as “decent”.

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He added: “I thought there were some good bits and some bits that need to be polished up a wee bit. I was pleased all in.”

Bonnyrigg kick off their Premier Sports Cup campaign away to Clyde on Wednesday before hosting Hibs a week on Sunday.

Manager Robbie Horn said: “It was a fitness exercise for us. I thought first half we worked really hard, we rode our luck a few times but we had a really decent shape about us.”

Bonnyrigg were furious about the penalty early in the second half given for an apparent trip by Dean Brett on Alex Cochrane. The contact, if any, looked minimal.

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Horn said: “I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not. The players are adamant that it wasn’t and after that we made changes and it unsettled us. We got cut open a little bit, but we worked incredibly hard against a quality side.”

Hearts (3-4-3): Gordon (Stewart 66); Neilson (Sibbick 79), Wright, Kingsley (Halliday 70); M Smith, Haring (C Smith 70), Devlin (McEneff 70), Cochrane; Forrest (McKay 79), Boyce (Henderson 79), Grant. Subs not used: Atkinson, Mackay-Steven.

Bonnyrigg Rose (3-4-1-2): Weir (Andrews 69); Young, Horne, Martinyuk (Hall 55); Brett, Connolly, Doan (Trialist 87), Barrett (Trialist 78); S Gray (Trialist 69); Smith (Turner 55), Hunter (Trialist 69). Subs: Turner, Andrews.

Referee: Steven Kirkland. Attendance: 2,984.