It has been a frustrating fourteen months for Gary Hooper at Sheffield Wednesday.
The forward has missed the last 60 league games for the Owls after suffering a serious knee injury last season against Nottingham Forest, an absence which incredibly saw him fail to make a single appearance during Jos Luhakey’s reign at the club.
After a lengthy period of rehabilitation, Hooper is expected to return to the squad for the Yorkshire-based outfit’s clash at Stoke City (according to quotes on the club’s Facebook channel via HITC) which could be great news for Steve Bruce who has experienced an outstanding start to his Hillsborough career since taking charge of his first game in February.
The Owls are currently on a ten game unbeaten run in the Championship and are just two points behind Aston Villa who currently occupy the final play-off position. A resurgence in form has allowed supporters to dream of a trip to Wembley Stadium in May but in order to achieve this, they will need to overcome tough fixtures against the likes of Leeds United and Norwich City in the coming weeks. Although it will be an almighty task to beat two of the best sides in the second tier this season, if Bruce can get Hooper firing again, there is no reason why they cannot cause a major shake-up in the automatic promotion race.
Before his injury, the 31-year-old forward was on course to record his best ever total of goals for the club since his £3m switch from Norwich in 2015 (via the 72), having scored on 10 occasions in 24 league games. If he can reach similar levels of performance upon his return for Wednesday, he may end up providing the boost needed for the club to reach the play-offs.
However, when you consider the length of his absence, there is no guarantee that Hooper will be able to replicate his previous performances and so Bruce will have to be patient with the former Celtic ace.
What do you think Owls fans? How big of a boost is it to have Hooper back from injury? Could he fire you to play-off glory? Get in touch below.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience