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‘It would be massive’ – Hearts favourite hopes for another shot; City sign Everton midfielder

Steven Naismith had a goalscoring pre-season with Norwich City last summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Steven Naismith had a goalscoring pre-season with Norwich City last summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Steven Naismith may have endured a thankless time at Norwich City – but a Hearts return would be “massive” in the eyes of one Jambos favourite.

Former Hearts player and manager Gary Locke has pinned his colours to the mast for Naismith’s signing – a deal the Edinburgh club are believed to have already discussed with the Canaries.

The 31-year-old forward still has a season remaining on his current, expensive City contract – and a loan move costing a relatively small wedge of his five-figure weekly wages is likely to be the limit of Hearts’ purchasing power.

But that was enough to persuade City into Naismith’s Tynecastle move back in January, and it could be enough to do so again this summer unless the Canaries get a better offer from elsewhere.

“I think it would be massive,” said Hearts ambassador Locke told the Glasgow Evening Times. “Obviously I know Steven well, I played with him at Kilmarnock, a fantastic professional and a fantastic guy as well, he has a great will to win and look at the clubs he has played with as well.

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“I think that speaks volumes of Steven as a player and a person. Craig (Levein, Hearts manager) is obviously keen to keep him, I think that will depend a lot on what Norwich want to do and what Steven wants to do as well.

“If you watch him on the park, how he plays, he is constantly talking, telling people where to go, what to do, those kind of people are worth their weight in gold. If we can sign people of his quality then that would stand us in good stead.

“Obviously I see them all with my role at the club and speak to all of them, I know he enjoyed it so that is a great start for us.

Steven Naismith joined Hearts on loan from Norwich City in January, and went on to make 16 appearances for the Jambos. Picture: HeartsSteven Naismith joined Hearts on loan from Norwich City in January, and went on to make 16 appearances for the Jambos. Picture: Hearts

“I know towards the ends of the season he was getting back to the player I know he can be. More importantly it is great for Craig, because he is getting a top notch player.”

Naismith made 16 appearances for Hearts following his January switch, scoring four goals – but missed the final fixture of his loan spell after receiving a two-game ban for an unpunished stamp on Celtic captain Scott Brown.

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That means wherever Naismith plies his trade next season, he will most likely have to start it by completing his suspension.

Steven Naismith looks set to be playing his football in Scotland again this season with Hearts. Picture: PASteven Naismith looks set to be playing his football in Scotland again this season with Hearts. Picture: PA

With Naismith’s family having moved back to Scotland following his January loan, remaining available to City next season appears unlikely – although he is currently set to clock in with the rest of his Norwich team-mates, come their return for pre-season at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Norwich City are believed to have completed the signing of Everton midfielder Tom Scully for their Under-23 squad.

The 18-year-old former Liverpool youngster was one of eight academy players released by the Toffees last month and had been on trial at City in March, when he scored for the Under-18s in a 4-1 defeat at Reading.

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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