Norwich City old-boy Hooper is the Sheffield Wednesday dangerman
PUBLISHED: 16:38 08 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 08 December 2017
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Norwich City will be only too aware of the dangers that old-boy Gary Hooper will present on Saturday evening.
Hooper is Wednesday’s leading scorer, his brace in he 2-2 draw with Hull a week ago taking his Championship tally to 10.
Hooper has been involved in 12 Championship goals this season – with two assists – five more than any other Wednesday player.
One man who can testify to the quality of Hooper’s ability as a goal scorer and a provider is fellow striker Atdhe Nuhiu.
“Gary is one of the best finishes in the league; without a shadow of a doubt,” Nuhiu told The Sheffield Star.
“Gary is going to be vital for us. Gary is comfortable and he likes it here. He will always score goals if you provide chances for him. Gary is always alive in the box when someone gives him the ball.”
Nuhiu, a second-half replacement against Hull, proved a good foil for Hooper, setting him up with an intelligent knockdown which enabled Hooper to rifle in his and Wednesday’s second.
Nuhiu added: “I think Gary and I understood each other brilliantly. Even for the second goal, I knew I was going to win that ball. One hundred per cent.
“We have seen this partnership with Gary and myself a long time ago.
“We saw it in the first year when Carlos [Carvalhal] came and we got to the play-off final. We played well together.
“Not everybody can be like Gary. Not everybody can be like me.
“It’s a team game and you need someone to play to my strengths and someone to play to his.”
While Hooper is almost certain to start at Carrow Road, Nuhiu’s place is not so clear-cut.
Although the 28-year-old has been heavily involved in goals in Wednesday’s last two games, he has never been fully in favour at Hillsborough.
However, with question marks over the fitness of Steven Fletcher, he may be able to force himself into the picture. Assuming Fletcher is out, then it would be a straight fight between Nuhiu and Jordan Rhodes, who has two goals from half a dozen Championship starts – and scored two as the Owls thumped City 5-1 at Hillsborough last March.