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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Iain Collin auth-> David Somers
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39 of 040 Eggert Jonsson 77 L SPL H

Barrett heads for Perth as Hearts drop fellow trialist

Iain Collin
GRAHAM Barrett yesterday revealed he had opted for the security of joining St Johnstone for the rest of the season instead of the gamble of waiting to see whether Hearts would hand him a deal to remain in the SPL.
The former Arsenal striker negotiated his release from Falkirk on transfer deadline day earlier this month and initially trained with St Johnstone before being given the chance of a trial at Hearts last week.

The Republic of Ireland cap impressed manager Csaba Laszlo but the Hungarian admitted a contract offer hinged on the return of on-loan Reggina striker Mike Tullberg, who could be back in Gorgie this week after treatment in his native Denmark for a persistent thigh injury.

Barrett was seen as a possible short-term solution to Laszlo's problems up front, where he fielded defender Eggert Jonsson recently in the Scottish Cup defeat to Falkirk in a bid to overcome a shortage of options.

With lone forward Christian Nade suspended for the trip to face Dundee United this weekend, Laszlo yesterday even raised the possibility of defensive midfielder Adrian Mrowiec being pressed into emergency cover.

However, Barrett has opted for a short-term stay with First Division leaders St Johnstone, who have themselves been struck with a spate of injuries to strikers in recent weeks.

The 27-year-old said: "It would have been an on-going thing at Hearts. They are hoping to have a player (Tullberg] coming back fit this week, which would have given them four strikers and would have meant they didn't need another.

"If the lad was not fully fit there was the possibility in a few weeks' time that something might have been done.

"I had to give myself a chance of going to Hearts because it is an amazing club.

But I felt I couldn't wait any longer and the St Johnstone offer was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"But I would like to thank John Murray and Csaba Laszlo. I really enjoyed my time training there and I can see why they are doing so well."

Hearts' other trialist Arunas Klimavicius will also not be joining the club after it was revealed he would not be offered a deal following a week's trial.

The 26-year-old was thought to be close to securing a move because of Laszlo's current defensive problems but has surprisingly now left the club.

Skipper Robbie Neilson partnered Jonsson against St Mirren on Saturday in a central defence shorn of Christophe Berra, following his £2.3million move to Wolves, the suspended Marius Zaliukas and the ill Christos Karipidis.

However, a brief statement yesterday announced Hearts would not be "pursuing" the signatures of either Klimavicius or Barrett.

Although Karipidis is due to return from illness in defence, Laszlo has revealed he could now improvise with his attack for Saturday's trip to Tannadice.

Whilst Calum Elliot and Gary Glen would seem natural selections up front, the Hearts manager has admitted he is considering midfielder Mrowiec, formerly a striker, for a starting berth against United.

He said: "For Tullberg to play he must be working with the team and I must see his physical fitness. It would not be a good decision to put him directly into the team.

"In previous years I know he was a good striker before he dropped back to the number six position.

"I always try to have a new solution but, at the moment, it is not easy with players out and in all the time."

Taken from the Scotsman

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