BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Former Newcastle United youngster JJ Hooper will step up his bid to win a contract with Raith Rovers this week.
The 21-year-old joined the Fifers on trial last week, featuring in their 1-1 draw with a Celtic XI, and will continue to train with the club at their Glenrothes base in the coming days.
Rovers boss Ray McKinnon intends to give the bustling striker a run-out for Raith’s under-19 side, who face Dalkeith Thistle at King’s Park in Edinburgh this evening.
And, dropping his biggest hint yet that he could be willing to snap up Hooper, McKinnon acknowledged that the player would bring “something we don’t have” to a relatively lightweight attacking pool.
“We are still having a look,” said the Stark’s Park gaffer. “He played last week and probably is something we don’t already have in terms of height, physique and attributes like that.
“We will give him another game on Tuesday and, if he impresses, then we will look at the situation going forward. If not, then we will look elsewhere.”
Hooper scored 20 goals for English Conference South side Havant and Waterlooville last term but has spent most of pre-season north of the border attempting to win a deal in Scottish football.
He was on trial with Inverness Caledonian Thistle but saw the Highlanders’ interest cool when they signed Spaniard Dani Lopez.
Hooper then spent a period training with Rovers’ fierce Fife rivals Dunfermline, even finding the net in a 5-2 friendly victory over Queen’s Park.