SHEFFIELD Wednesday are expected to make Gary Hooper a £3m permanent signing today and could step up their efforts to prise Jordan Rhodes from Blackburn Rovers in their bid to cement a place in the Championship’s play-off positions.
Hooper returned to Carrow Road following the expiry of his loan deal on Sunday and has trained with the Premier League club, who are now understood to have reached an agreement with the Owls.
It appears that Hooper has just to agree personal terms before returning to Hillsborough after signing off with a double in Saturday’s derby triumph over Leeds United.
Former Scunthorpe United and Celtic striker Hooper, 27, scored six goals in 13 Owls appearances and said on Saturday as his loan spell expired: “I want to stay, I like it here. It’s a good squad and we’re winning games. I’m scoring goals and playing games. I’m happy here and we’ve just got to see what happens now.”
Hooper joined Norwich from Celtic, where he scored 82 goals in 137 games, for £5m and scored 12 goals to help the Canaries to promotion back to the Premier League.
With Norwich operating with just one striker this season, Hooper struggled to break into the team and joined the Owls in October, scoring six goals in the final six games of his loan. He hit 20 goals in 70 games for the Canaries.
More good news for Wednesday in their fight to land Scotland international Rhodes, the son of Owls goalkeeping coach Andy, was Blackburn’s signing yesterday of Sunderland striker Danny Graham on loan until the end of the season.
It could open the door for a move for the former Huddersfield Town player who, however, is valued at £12m by Blackburn.
Title-chasing Middlesbrough are also said to be interested in a striker who cost £8m and who would net Town 20 per cent of any profit Rovers make from a sale.
Boro’s prime target, however, appears to be Fulham’s former Leeds striker Ross McCormack.
Blackburn signing Graham started out at Middlesbrough and moved to Carlisle in 2007 after loan spells at Darlington, Derby, Leeds and Blackpool before signing for Watford in 2009. He was signed by Swansea for £3.5m in 2011 before
Sunderland paid a reported £5m in January, 2013.
He has since had loan spells at Hull, Middlesbrough and Wolves.