Hearts bolster strike-force with arrival with Wigan's Stephen Humphrys

Hearts have signed striker Stephen Humphrys on loan from Wigan Athletic.

Stephen Humphrys of Wigan Athletic has joined Hearts on loan.
Stephen Humphrys of Wigan Athletic has joined Hearts on loan.

The 24-year-old will help plump up the strike options at Tynecastle after the untimely injury to international forward Liam Boyce left manager Robbie Neilson with limited options in that department.

With domestic and European games coming thick and fast, in an unrelenting schedule between now and the start of the World Cup break, on November 12, the Gorgie club were keen to add to the depth of a squad that has been decimated by injuries in the early weeks of the season.

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Seven first team regulars were sidelined as the club exited the Premier Sports Cup on Wednesday night and although Craig Halkett, Stephen Kingsley, Nat Atkinson and Jorge Grant are in contention for a return to the matchday squad this weekend, the fact that Kye Rowles could be absent for a further six weeks, while both Beni Baningime and Boyce are out with long-term knee injuries, prompted the chase for reinforcements.

It is hoped that Humphys will help fill the void left by the Northern Irishman.

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On the periphery at the Latics after the Championship side signed Ashley Fletcher and Nathan Broadhead, he scored seven goals in 49 appearances as Wigan won League One last term but he has made just three appearances this season and he is desperate for regular first-team football.

A player with physical presence, who prefers to play through the middle, he can pose a threat for a wider position and will provide competition in the forward roles.

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The club had hoped to add another couple of players to the squad on transfer deadline day and tested the water regarding loan deals for Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez and Celtic’s Mikey Johnston but the Pittodrie manager Jim Goodwin was reluctant to allow their out-of-favor USA international to join a rival Premiership side, while the Celtic winger was due to join Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes on loan.

Hearts will now look at available free agents as a way of bolstering other areas of their squad.