DRAGONS boss Bernard Jackman is relishing the chance to see tighthead Nicky Thomas 'on trial' at Rodney Parade with the possibility of signing the on-loan prop on a permanent deal.

The 23-year-old has moved from the Scarlets to the Dragons until the end of January because Brok Harris' shoulder surgery left them down to their last two tightheads.

Former Wales Under-20s international Thomas came through the ranks at the Ospreys, moved to Gloucester and then returned to Wales with the Scarlets in 2016.

He has played just eight times for the Guinness PRO14 champions and, after going on loan to Bristol earlier this season, now has a chance to earn a contract in the east.

Thomas is initially back-up to Wales prop Leon Brown and in-form Lloyd Fairbrother but has potential to excite former Ireland front-rower Jackman.

The head coach said: "He is a guy that I've been tracking for a while and I've been watching a lot of Bristol's games because we've recruited from there (centre Thretton Palamo on loan, Rhodri Williams and Jordan Williams for next season).

"Nicky went in at the start of the season when the Bristol scrum was struggling and really shored it up, and in the English Championship the scrum is a weapon.

"He started with us last Tuesday when we had some live scrums and he was really impressive; he's an old school scrummaging tighthead and it's nice to have as many of them as you can.

"With Brok being injured and Leon coming back [from concussion] we just needed a little bit more depth. It certainly gives us a different type of weapon going into this next block."

When asked whether he would like to sign Thomas permanently, Jackman replied: "We'll see how it goes, and the great thing now is that we get the chance to try him out.

"When you see a guy day in, day out then you get a real clear idea of what they are about. For us now it's about making him welcome and upskilled in our systems.

"If he is good then he is out of contract in June, so he is someone I think we will have a fair chance of getting if we like him."

Jackman is mulling who to bring in but the head coach must also balance the books by letting players go.

With two scrum-halves already signed for next season in Rhodri Williams and Rhodri Davies, room is tight with Sarel Pretorius, Charlie Davies and Tavis Knoyle the senior 9s on the roster.

"In January I will have to start making decisions. I've kept some budget for all eventualities," said Jackman.

"It's getting tight for scrum-halves, that's obvious, so I am sure they will all be looking to maximise their game time."