Liam Palmer has hailed Gary Hooper as one of the best strikers in the Championship with the Sheffield Wednesday forward yesterday nominated for a Player of the Month Award from the PFA.
Hooper’s performances during October has seen the frontman given the nod for the gong, which is voted for by fans, alongside Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle, QPR midfielder Massimo Luongo, Paul Gallagher of Preston, Cardiff City’s Peter Whittingham and Brighton forward Sam Baldock.
Two goals during the month, against Brighton and QPR, only tell part of the story for Hooper who drew praise for his work-rate in leading the line, particularly in the 1-0 victory over then in-form Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium last month.
And Palmer, who comes up against the 28-year-old daily in training, says it is about time Hooper’s all-round game is being put in the spotlight.
“Last season he was vital to our upturn in form, his goals too,” said the Owls full-back.
“This season, he has been great for us, dropping in and being that first line of defence.
“It doesn’t always get noticed, and it’s not what a striker particular wants to be doing, chasing the defensive midfielder from the other team, but it’s vital to how we set-up.
“Without that, it would make it a lot more difficult for us.”
Asked if he felt Hooper was one of the best forwards in the division, Palmer added: “100 per cent. His goalscoring record over the years, wherever he has been, proves that.
“In training, give him half a yard and it’s going inside the net. He is deadly inside the box.”