Derby end Hooper farce

Last updated : 14 July 2010 By Luke Thornhill

Hooper is one of the hottest properties in the Championship after scoring 20 goals for the Iron last season.

Celtic, Middlesbrough and Leeds United are believed to lead the chase for the former Southend forward, who cost Scunthorpe £175,000 when he moved from Roots Hall two years ago.

Derby Couunty always seemed an unlikely destination for Hooper, but their manager Nigel Clough was the only manager to publically declare his interest.

He did that before last season was over, stressing the club would not pay a high fee for a player who scored three goals against his side as the Iron defeated them twice in the league.

With 20 goals last season and a year left on his contract, there was always going to be a substantial fee to be paid - the consensus appears to be that a fee of £2.5million is needed to pry him away from Glanford Park this summer. That has led to Clough finally dropping his interest in the player.

"Scunthorpe want an awful lot of money for him and we already have six strikers on our books," he told BBC Sport.

"The combination of those things mean we won't be adding him at the moment."

United say they do not want to sell Hooper, but are keeping him out of pre-season games to avoid an injury that would end any move. He will not play at local non-league side Brigg Town on Wednesday night.