Thompson comes in cold to Jets reunion

FORMER Jets captain Matt Thompson has been looking forward to the first game against his old club.

But the durable midfielder did not expect it to be his first appearance for Melbourne Heart.

The Jets play A-League new boys at Morwell tomorrow week in a trial.

The Heart have played two trials, including a 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar, but Thompson has been sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery in the off-season.

"'Hopefully I will get half an hour against the Jets," said Thompson, who along with Hearts teammate Jason Hoffman took advantage of a four-day break to return to Newcastle.

"It has been frustrating being injured.

"You feel like you have to start again, impress again, but I'm looking forward to it."

Hoffman, who signed a two-year deal with the Heart, has started in both pre-season games and had the honour of scoring the club's first goal when he slotted home the opener in a 3-1 win over a Geelong select side this month.

"That was a nice bit of history," Hoffman said.

"Everything is going well. I have started every game, played every minute and had good feedback from the coaches."

The Newcastle junior made only six A-League appearances for the Jets last season, but the string-bean attacker felt he had nothing to prove to his old club.

"For me it is all about trying to impress our coach and make sure come August 5 when we start, that I am in the starting 11," he said.

"When we get all hands on deck it will be really competitive for spots, particularly in midfielder.

"We have been using a 4-3-3 formation with two No.10s. It is very much an Ajax system, with [coach] John [van 't Schip] having played and coached there."

Thompson said the Heart's base at Latrobe University was a similar set-up to that in Newcastle but the training was very different.

"It is very similar to the way [Socceroos coach] Pim Verbeek conducts his sessions," he said.

"Very intense, no more than an hour fifteen in duration and a lot of passing drills.

"We get in, do it properly and get out."

Meanwhile, former Leicester City goalkeeper Paul Henderson said a disappointing season at North Queensland was motivation behind him seeking a second chance at the Jets.

A long-term injury to Neil Young has left the Jets in need of a back-up for Ben Kennedy. Henderson, 34, has spent the past fortnight training with the Jets and is the front runner to secure a short-term deal.

Henderson had a year to run on his deal at North Queensland but was one of several players who had their contracts terminated after the corporate restructure of the club.

He returned to his home town Sydney and has been playing for NSW Premier League club Sydney Olympic.

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