Town have striker in their sights

IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane is keeping tabs on 22-year-old Scunthorpe United striker Gary Hooper.

The Blues were reported to be represented at Glanford Park on Saturday when former Southend front man Hooper scored a hat-trick in the Iron’s 3-0 victory over Bristol City.

Essex-born Hooper has one more year on his Scunthorpe contract, and said: “It’s an eye opener when a big club shows interest in you.

“But I’ve got another year of my contract and I’m very much a Scunthorpe player.”

Hooper would cost around �1million and fits the bill as far as Keane is concerned.

He scores goals having netted 47 times in 92 Scunthorpe games yet he is not on the radar of Premier League clubs.

Keane has said enough times that he needs a finisher to convert the chances that his team is creating to turn a glut of draws into victories.

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“If my leading scorer this time next season has seven goals like Jon Walters this term we will be in exactly the same league position as we are now,” said Keane, who may well be offered Sunderland pair Daryl Murphy and David Healy as well as cash by Black Cats’ boss Steve Bruce for the summer transfer of rising star Connor Wickham.

Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins has confirmed there’s been no Town bid and like Keane he will not comment on speculation.

Hooper cost Scunthorpe �175,000 in the summer of 2008 from Southend with Town linked with him when he was playing for Grays and last year when Jim Magilton was Town boss.

Scunthorpe would appreciate cash to help build for next season and they are believed to be keen on taking Liam Trotter, who helped them gain promotion last season and is currently on loan from Ipswich at Millwall.

Midfielder Trotter’s contract at Portman Road ends in June with Millwall also keen to take him full time.

Hooper has been linked with Leeds United, QPR and Derby with Town chief scout Steve McCall believed to have been at Glanford Park at the weekend.

Talking of Wickham, who would bring in around �3million on top of Murphy and Healy if he did move to Sunderland, Keane said: “It’s asking a lot to expect a 17-year-old to score the goals to take you up.

“He’s still growing and what he needs is a good rest in the summer and come back on June 28 refreshed,” said Keane.

“I don’t want to be dependent on loan players next season, although I’d welcome back Jack Colback with open arms if it doesn’t happen for him at Sunderland.

“He’s been brilliant for us and made progress playing a lot of games in a struggling side.

“He deserves to be involved around the Premier League next season.

“Our left side has been a problem and we’ve often been lop sided, and it’s an area we’ve got to improve on.”

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