Gary Hooper ready to make long-awaited Sheffield Wednesday return
Sheffield Wednesday star Gary Hooper is poised to make his long-awaited return to action tomorrow.
The centre-forward is pencilled in to play the first half of the Owls' Under-23s clash with Crystal Palace at Hillsborough on Friday, kick-off 12pm, as he continues his recovery from injury.
Hooper, a key player in Wednesday's run to the Championship play-off final in 2015-16 and in the semi-final qualification in the following campaign, has not featured in 15 months for the South Yorkshire club.
But the 31-year-old recently returned to full training after recovering from groin surgery.
Time is running out for Hooper to prove his fitness and worth to Owls boss Steve Bruce. His Wednesday deal expires this summer.
The spate of injuries at Wednesday over the last 18 months is an area which Bruce has promised to address.
"Probably the reason why I am here is the number of injuries and the recurrence of injuries," he said. "When you look at Kieran Lee, (Gary) Hooper, (Sam) Winnall, Forestieri it's endless.
"The big problem I have got with everything is recurrence. It seems to be a common plight. We get people back out there and then, unfortunately, they get injuries elsewhere."
Next up for the Owls is a trip to seventh-placed Derby County this weekend. Wednesday, currently occupying 13th spot, will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten league run to nine matches.
Bruce, who is set to hold his pre-match press conference at 9am tomorrow, said: “We have given ourselves a chance because of our defensive record.
“Eight weeks ago, they were conceding two every game, so we’ve made sure that we are difficult to beat and I think that was vitally important.”