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Gary Hooper is drafted back into the breach at Norwich City

Gary Hooper was in action for Norwich City's development squad against Tottenham's U21s. Photo: Bill Smith

Gary Hooper was in action for Norwich City's development squad against Tottenham's U21s. Photo: Bill Smith

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Norwich City striker Gary Hooper is back in the first team mix after proving his fitness to Canaries’ boss Neil Adams.

Hooper was again on development duty as an over-age player during the midweek 3-1 win against Tottenham’s Under-21s after scoring in a recent behind-closed-doors win at West Ham.

The 26-year-old had admitted prior to the international break he needed games to build up his sharpness following a calf injury and Adams confirmed yesterday he will be part of the squad for the Championship trip to Fulham.

“Gary is back with us now,” he said. “I was pleased with his performance on Tuesday night and at West Ham as well. I think people who watched him the other day will have seen the sharpness, the energy, the metres he is putting in, both defensively as much as in an attacking sense. People know how we play and the front players here have to work hard when they don’t have the ball. We know what he can do and I was pleased to see in the last two games he looked a lot sharper than when he was initially recovering from the injury.”

Summer signing Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe was not involved against Spurs after being part of a strong City line-up at Upton Park.

“You can only play three over-age players plus the keeper so that is why he was not in my thoughts,” said Adams. “If you had the old reserve league you would treat it differently. The West Ham game was an excellent exercise. We really got a lot out of that and it is something we’ll look to do again. We had nine or 10 going away on international duty and for those who stayed behind and hadn’t played it gave them a good work-out. I think it is miles better playing the game in a stadium rather than Colney or a training ground. You lose 15pc, 20pc for me because players know it is a training exercise.”

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