Trio of English Championship clubs keen on Hearts target as Robbie Neilson resigned to missing out on striker

A trio of English Championship clubs are eyeing up a move for former Hearts loanee Ellis Simms.

The Everton striker had a productive loan stint at Tynecastle Park in the second half of last season, hitting seven goals in 20 appearances, including one in the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hibs.

Robbie Neilson is keen to bring the 21-year-old back to the club but is resigned to Simms moving elsewhere.

Huddersfield Town, Millwall and Sunderland are all reportedly keen with Frank Lampard set to make a decision on the future of the striker.

Hearts put forward a strong case to land Simms on another loan deal, especially with European football in the first half of the season, but due to the players wages it is unlikely.

The club have recently added Lawrence Shankland which Neilson admitted all but ends the chances of a return for Simms.

“It was always one that was probably going to be outwith our means anyway," he told the Evening News last week.

“We are pushing the club forward and the board have been outstanding backing us but there are levels we can’t get to. That’s probably one that we can’t.”

Hearts are unlikely to re-sign Ellis Simms. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Hearts begin their season on Saturday against Ross County at Tynecastle Park ahead of finding out their potential Europa League play-off opponents on Monday when the draw takes place.

The Jam Tarts defeated Stoke City in their final pre-season friendly which doubled up as a testimonial for Gary Locke.

Shankland hit a double on his first appearance since signing from Belgian outfit Beerschot.

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