Sheffield Wednesday: Gary Hooper backs Owls for goals ...but keeping them out is crucial

Owls Scorer Gary Hooper...Pic Steve Ellis
Owls Scorer Gary Hooper...Pic Steve Ellis
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As a fully-fledged member of the strikers’ union, Gary Hooper takes great pleasure in making life uncomfortable for defenders.

But the 29-year-old agrees with 13-time English title winner Sir Alex Ferguson’s view that forwards win teams matches but defences win championships.

Gary Hooper

Gary Hooper

Carlos Carvalhal’s charges boasted one of the meanest defences in the Championship as they clinched a fourth-placed finish last time around.

And Hooper believes Wednesday must keep things even tighter at the back if they are to build on back-to-back play-offs.

“We have to keep the ball out of the net,” he said. “I think we have the strikers to be successful.

“We always score goals and have enough people to make chances. It is just keeping the ball out of the net.

Owls Gary Hooper with Derby County's Richard Keogh....Pic Steve Ellis

Owls Gary Hooper with Derby County's Richard Keogh....Pic Steve Ellis

“Even if we win ugly, it doesn’t matter as long as we get the three points.”

Hooper is demanding the Owls improve their efficiency.

He said: “We did well last year but you can always improve. We have to see games out better.

“It will be the hardest Championship ever. There are so many teams who be looking to get promotion. There are loads of big teams like Norwich, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Derby, Sunderland.

“But we have to focus on us and not worry about anyone else. We have to aim high and look to win every game.

“I think we have the squad to do well. We just have to be consistent.”

Two separate hamstring injuries restricted Hooper’s involvement last season and forced him to sit-out the end-of-season shootout for a place in the Premier League. He was sorely missed against Huddersfield Town.

“It wasn’t nice watching the penalties,” he conceded. “We thought we had a good chance to beat Huddersfield and get to the final but it wasn’t to be but hopefully it will be third time lucky.”

Having put his injury problems behind him, Hooper is determined to make up for lost time.

“Hopefully I will get into double figures for goals,” he said. “I have to keep fit and hope the gaffer plays me.”

This article originally appeared in The Star’s Sheffield Wednesday Kick-Off pull-out