Heskey linked with A-League move

Australian club Newcastle Jets are hoping to sign former England and Aston Villa star Emile Heskey for the upcoming domestic season, encouraged by Sydney FC's luring of Italian great Alessandro Del Piero.

The Australian newspaper said Jets manager Robbie Middleby was in England to meet the 34-year-old, who is without a club after being released by Villa at the end of last season.

But Middleby could face stiff competition for the powerfully built striker, with reported interest also coming from English Premier League club Stoke and Championship sides Blackpool and Ipswich.

The Jets already boast one former Premier League player in Michael Bridges, who used to play for Sunderland.

The A-League season kicks off in October and has been boosted by Del Piero's signing for Sydney this month.

The former Juventus star opted for Sydney ahead of clubs including Liverpool, with his arrival hailed as a significant moment for the league, which has struggled over the years with patchy crowds and financial troubles.