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Australian Football: Hooper set for Nix exit

Wellington Phoenix have confirmed Gary Hooper will leave the club at the end of the season after being granted an early release from his contract.

The Nix are pushing to finish in the top six of the A-League this season but Hooper may not kick another ball for them after picking up a calf injury.

Injury setback

When fit and available Hooper has been a key player for Ufuk Talay’s side but staying injury free has been an issue for him.

The latest setback saw the former Celtic striker suffer a torn calf against Newcastle last week which will keep him on the sidelines for the next six weeks. The injury could curtail his season and he may not be seen in a Nix shirt again.

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Talay admits it has been a disappointing time for everyone and he will be disappointed to lose the striker.

“It’s been up and down,” Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay said. “The games that he’s been involved in he’s an influential player, he’s a quality player. It’s been frustrating for him, it’s been frustrating for me not being able to keep Hoops on the park.”

Hooper goes down in history

Hooper will always be fondly remembered for scoring eight goals in his first stint for the club when they finished third on the A-League ladder in 2020.

Following a spell in the Indian Super League he returned for the start of this season and has chipped in with another five goals.

But unless he makes a remarkable recovery Hooper will not get the chance to add to his tally.

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