Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper is the One to Watch ahead of the fixture this weekend.
Name: Gary Hooper
Date of Birth: 26-01-1988 (Loughton)
Previous Clubs: Grays Athletic, Southend United, Leyton Orient (L), Hereford United (L)
Career Appearances (Goals): 186 (66)
The striker burst onto the scene after coming through the ranks at Grays Athletic. He was in the shadow of fellow forward Freddy Eastwood he moved to Southend United.
He was on the bench as a 15-year-old in an Essex Senior Cup tie before making his full debut for the club in a successful season.
Grays were the first Champions of the newly-formed Conference South with Hooper bagging 12 goals in 29 appearances, and his successful time at the Rec didn’t stop there.
Eight goals in the Conference National and playing nearly every game saw Hooper arouse the interest of Football League clubs – Southend the winners in the race for his signature.
He joined the Shrimpers after a successful trial and made his debut in a League Cup win over AFC Bournemouth.
Playing predominantly from the bench, he also scored a brace against Leeds United in the Carling Cup, helping set up a tie with Manchester United, featuring in yet another cup shock as former Grays man Eastwood took the headlines.
Later that season, with first team opportunity at a minimum, he was loaned out to Leyton Orient where he made five appearances scoring two goals.
Only two further goals for Southend, Hooper was shipped out on loan again midway through the 2007-08 season, to Hereford United.
He hit the ground running with five goals in his opening five fixtures and 11 in total as the fans dubbed him ‘Super Gary Hooper’ as the Bulls achieved promotion into League One.
With his Southend United future seemingly over, he was sold to divisional rivals Scunthorpe United for £125,000 – which could eventually rise to £175,000.
Suffice to say it was an error on Southend’s part with the forward bagging an unprecedented 30 goals as Scunthorpe reached the League One playoffs.
He played in the semi-final first-leg against MK Dons, before featuring in the final itself against Millwall, with Martyn Woolford and Matt Sparrow scoring the crucial goals to fire the Iron to promotion.
While some may have anticipated Hooper to struggle, he has already scored nine goals for Scunthorpe this season, prompting QPR to become interested in the forward and reportedly have a £1,000,000 bid rejected.
An excellent finisher with useful movement and pace, Hooper will be the man to watch as Scunthorpe visit Loftus Road this weekend.
Have your say on The Forum
Follow us on Twitter
Become a fan on Facebook – Become a fan of Vital QPR