U's hoping to keep Hooper quiet

COLCHESTER United managed to keep hot-shot Matty Fryatt at bay during last weekend's 1-1 draw at Leicester City, and they will be looking to do a similar job on Scunthorpe marksman Gary Hooper today.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United managed to keep hot-shot Matty Fryatt at bay during last weekend's 1-1 draw at Leicester City, and they will be looking to do a similar job on Scunthorpe marksman Gary Hooper today.

Foxes trump card Fraytt was unable to add to his 28 goals for the season, as the U's impressed and were unlucky not to win at the Walkers Stadium.


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Now Hooper, who has blazed a similar trail in League One with 27 goals, 22 of them in the league, is lying in wait. He is intent on strengthening Scunthorpe's bid for an immediate return to the Championship, after suffering relegation along with the U's and Foxes last term.

And the ex-Southend striker has another target, of a more personal nature - he is just five short of equalling Billy Sharp's goal-scoring club record of 2006-07, and so wants to break that by reaching 33 goals for the campaign.

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There was good news for the Iron on Thursday, when Hooper revealed that he wanted to sign a new contract with the north Lincolnshire club. The 21-year-old still has two years remaining on his current contract, following his �125,000 switch from Roots Hall..

"This is a good club who are hopefully looking to get promoted, so it would be nice to sign another deal," insisted Hooper.

"And I'm going for the 33 to break the record and to be the top scorer in the league."

Remarkably, Hooper, who was born in Essex at Loughton, never really made the grade with his first professional club Southend, following his move from non-league Grays Athletic in the summer of 2006.

He managed just two goals in 32 league outings for the Shrimpers, but away from Roots Hall he caught the eye with a tremendous three-month loan spell at Hereford at the back end of last season.

In fact, Hooper was a prime reason for the Bulls winning promotion to League One, thanks to 11 goals in 19 appearances. His pace and mobility proved a handful for League Two defences, and he has carried this form into this season at his new club Scunthorpe.

He became an instant hit by plundering seven goals in the first nine games of the campaign, and has gone on to form a potent strike-force with Paul Hayes, who has bagged 16 goals.

Iron's third leading scorer, midfielder Grant McCann (six goals), will not feature against Colchester this afternoon due to an international call-up with Northern Ireland. Sam Togwell is likely to deputise.

Ex-U's loanee striker, Ben May, has been dogged by an ankle injury in recent weeks, although he did play for the Reserves in midweek and so might be on the bench today. The ex-Millwall target man has scored four goals this season.

Back injuries could rule out defender Cliff Bryne and midfielder Henri Lansbury, so Andrew Wright and Martin Woolford are on standby.

Liam Trotter, who signed on loan from Ipswich in February, has so far been restricted to a handful of substitute appearances.

The Iron are hopeful of gaining promotion via the play-offs, although they are already guaranteed at least one appearance at Wembley, because they are set to take on Luton Town in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Sunday week.

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