NICKY Thomas wants to settle at the Dragons after racking up the clubs but the large tighthead knows he has to “pull his socks up” and become more mobile.

The 23-year-old is currently on loan at Rodney Parade from the Scarlets with view to a permanent deal for next season.

A full-time move to Rodney Parade looks likely but the prop knows that he has to impress boss Bernard Jackman and forwards coach Ceri Jones.

With Wales tighthead Leon Brown close to a comeback from concussion, Lloyd Fairbrother in fine form and Dan Suter poised to return from a pre-season ankle injury, competition is fierce for the 3 jersey.

And that means that strong-scrummaging Thomas can’t just rely on his set piece prowess if he is to stop being a rugby nomad.

The prop came through the ranks at the Ospreys, moved to Gloucester in 2015, the Scarlets last season, moved on loan to Bristol earlier in the current campaign and is now at the Dragons.

Plenty have seen his potential but the burly front rower – who calls himself a “lifetime member of fat club” on Twitter – knows he has to grasp this chance.

“Bernard and Ceri brought me in for my set piece work,” said Thomas. “I have got to deliver because that is my bread and butter, my point of difference as a player.

“Obviously I have to work on my mobility and work rate around the park, plus all the other things that come with it.

“They brought me in for a reason – to do a job [at the set piece] and I have to show them that I can do it.”

But Thomas knows that shedding the pounds so that he is a useful member of the team away from the scrum is also vital if he is to usurp Brown and Fairbrother.

“I know that, throughout the whole of my career it’s something that has held me back and something that I’ve always struggled with,” he admitted.

“I’ve got to work harder on it, it’s as simple as that. I’ve got to get to a point where Bernard and Ceri trust me.

“It is working hard but it’s also being clever around the pitch, against Saracens I got caught out instead of being smarter and going to a different position.

“It’s a mixture of the two – my fitness has got to improve but tied into that it’s experience of game time at the top level of manipulating yourself on the run.

“Someone like me, or any tighthead prop really, doesn’t want to find themselves caught out wide and you see a 10 scanning the defensive line. If they see a tighthead prop their eyes ping and you know exactly what is going to come.”

Thomas has had an eventful start to life at the Dragons after playing in all three festive derbies.

He started against Cardiff Blues (wearing an NFL quarterback style wristband with the calls on), was a replacement against the Ospreys and then suffered the embarrassment of being substituted after just 25 minutes at the Scarlets along with prop Luke Garrett because of scrum struggles.

After an enforced absence because he wasn’t registered for Europe, Thomas returned against Saracens in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last weekend and will feature against when Worcester head to Newport on Friday.

His aim is to push for selection when the Guinness PRO14 returns with the visit of Glasgow and to earn a long stay at Rodney Parade.

“My first professional contract was at Gloucester and I had a great time,” said Thomas.

“I loved it there and had a good first year, playing nine games, and a thought it was my foot in the door but unfortunately I wasn’t English-qualified.

“That held me back and me and my family thought it would be a good idea to come back to Wales but it didn’t really work out at the Scarlets.

“However, there’s nothing better than working with a successful team and I had eight games, not as many as I wanted but it was a positive experience.

“Now it’s just trying to settle down somewhere but I’ve got to fight for my place here.

“A lot of my age-group have pushed onto international honours but I am not panicking, I know that I’ve got to pull my socks up but it’s different at tighthead and I’ve got a little bit more time on my hands.”