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Simon Thomas to miss Soccer Saturday and reveals who is replacing him on Sky Sports

Presenter Simon Thomas says he is to temporarily miss Soccer Saturday as he reveals who is replacing him on Sky Sports due to Covid.

The former Blue Peter presenter tweeted on Saturday morning, telling his followers that he won’t be on our screens for the time being.

He also named who is taking over for now, with Caroline Barker, who was reportedly one of the contenders to permanently replace Jeff Stelling, taking on the role until Simon Thomas gets better.

He posted: ‘Sadly no #soccersaturday for me today – #Covid has hit the Thomas household. @CarolineBarker is in the hot seat today. Go well CB – you’ll be brilliant. See you next week.’

Barker already works across Sky Sports, with her regularly being part of their Women’s Super League coverage.

She is highly admired by those at Sky, impressing with her coverage of netball but also her ability to cover a variety of sports and has the knowledge of all leagues top to bottom.

She has also presented for Premier League productions, on various sports for the BBC, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC World Service, and also hosted The Non-League Football Show.

Caroline Barker • Biography & Images

Commenting on becoming the presenter of Soccer Saturday, Simon Thomas said: “When I left Sky in 2018 for very personal reasons; it was always said the door would be open if I ever wanted to return. I never expected that Gillette Soccer Saturday would be the door that would open.

“Being asked to present this iconic show and follow in the footsteps of Jeff Stelling, an absolute giant of sports broadcasting, is a massive honour and one I simply cannot wait to get started on.”

Thomas, a Norwich City supporter, said via his social media account: “Ever since I stepped away from Sky in 2018 to look after Ethan after we lost his mum, rebuilding my career has not always been easy.

“Sky always said the door would be open for me to come back, but this was never the door I expected to open.

“Lots of people have said I have some very big shoes to fill – but I don’t. Jeff Stelling is a one-off.

“An absolute master of his craft. Incomparable. All I can be is myself, and be the best I possibly can.”

Jeff Stelling said: “Wish him well. He is an excellent broadcaster and a v good person x”

Sky Sports’ Director of Football, Gary Hughes, added: “Simon left Sky at the top of his profession as a Premier League presenter, delivering the biggest games to big audiences. It’s brilliant to have someone with his experience and credibility back on the team to take Gillette Soccer Saturday into a new era.”

Thomas has previously spoke about his first wife Gemma dying in November 2017, just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.

His second wife, Derrina Jebb, gave birth to their daughter Talitha in October 2022, after an emergency caesarean section after developing pre-eclampsia.

Thomas went onto Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show to shared his experience.

He said: “This is a huge moment for me and my family and a massive honour to be trusted with such a well-loved and respected program.

“It also feels incredibly special to be fully coming back to the Sky Sports family, who all those years ago believed in me after leaving Blue Peter.

“I also just want to say thank you to my wonderful wife Derrina for always believing in me and my family and friends for always having my back. See you on August 5.”

Fans wished Simon Thomas all the best in recovery as he reveals he’s to miss Soccer Saturday and confirmed who is replacing him on Sky Sports…

@DannyRead1993: Get negative for next week @SimonThomasTV its been a fairly decent start to your reign as Soccer Saturday will watch @carolinebarker today she is brilliant as WSL host and I think she will go well this afternoon good luck Caroline

@superstarlee: Get Well Soon Simon

@HobbsworldXI: Get well soon Sir – been a cracking start!

@willcall1985: Get well soon Simon

@youngelearners: You can watch City Simon that should cheer you up 🤣🤣 get well soon.

@de_soyza: Oh no, feel better Simon!

@GillH1973: Hope you’re all feeling better and testing negative soon Simon 🤞⚽️

@andycwilson: Take care matey

@StephenHannon20: Great to see the excellent Caroline barker hosting soccer Saturday 👊✅❤️

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