Hooper enjoying Norwich strike partnership

Norwich forward Gary Hooper is relishing his partnership with Johan Elmander which helped move the Canaries away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Gary Hooper (R) #11 of Norwich

The £5million summer signing from Celtic cracked home a fourth goal in six games with a superb 30-yard strike to equalise against Swansea at Carrow Road on Sunday. The 1-1 draw was overshadowed by an ankle injury to Swans midfielder Nathan Dyer not long after he had put the visitors in front.

Hooper - who missed the opening six weeks of a first campaign in the English top flight because of a shin problem - was set up by an intelligent knockdown from Elmander, which epitomised the work-rate of the burly Sweden international who signed on a season-long loan from Galatasaray.

"We both put a shift in and know how to do it, with one of us sitting in on the midfielders and we know when to press, so I think we work well together," said Hooper.

Club-record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel could well be back from a toe injury to be in contention for Saturday's trip to relegation-battlers Sunderland, and Hooper feels that will only add some healthy competition to lead the Norwich frontline.

"Ricky was unlucky to get injured, and we haven't played together yet, but he is a big player to come back," Hooper, 25, continued.

"It is nice to play two up top, Johan and I link up well, so me and Ricky, or Johan and Ricky, could do all the same.

"From what I have seen of Ricky in training I am sure we could work together, we could mix it up, the same as me and Johan.

"There are a lot of games, big games, over Christmas and we need to get everyone fit."

Hooper almost won the match for the Canaries with a close-range effort which Swansea keeper Michel Vorm turned away at point-blank range, while a goalbound header from Michael Turner hit the crossbar and then was somehow deflected back up over the woodwork.

Nevertheless, the point edged Chris Hughton's men further away from trouble as they build on last weekend's win at West Brom.

"We are still a team that is gelling together," said Hooper, one of half-a-dozen new arrivals at Carrow Road over the summer.

"Everyone is trying to work out how to play with each other, but I think it is coming along.

"The team is playing well, the chances are coming now and we are getting results."

Hughton was determined to add more teeth to the Norwich attack this season, and those efforts are slowly starting to come to fruition.

"You can't play all three of them, but it gives me a nice problem," he said.

"It was touch and go whether I involved Ricky (against Swansea) and it would have been on the bench anyway.

"He had only had three days training with the team, but he will have a good week with us now, and we hope then come into contention for next week and the Christmas period.

"So for me, it is a good problem."

Van Wolfswinkel, signed from Sporting Lisbon in an £8million deal, has so far scored just once, on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Hughton hopes it will not be long before Norwich finally see the best of their big-money signing.

"It was unfortunate for Ricky at the time he got injured because sometimes it takes that player a bit longer to settle into the team and to score goals," Hughton added.

"He will, though, be a very welcome addition once he is back in, there is no doubt."



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