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IRON SWEAT ON HOOPER FITNESS.

SCUNTHORPE manager Nigel Adkins could be forced to try to win promotion without leading scorer Gary Hooper.

Hooper has plundered 30 goals this season and was hoping to break the club's record of 33 in one campaign.

But a nagging groin problem has left both he and Adkins fearing the worst ahead of Sunday's League One play-off final with Millwall.

Hooper, 21, has not trained since before Scunthorpe's semi-final first leg against MK Dons.

He has not scored since the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final at Wembley seven weeks ago, when the Iron lost to Luton.

And now his chances of regaining his scoring touch at Wembley in the club's biggest game hang in the balance.

Adkins said: "Gary hasn't been able to get out on the training field this week yet.

"But he is working very closely with the physiotherapist on his rehabilitation.

"There is still a long time to go between now and Sunday and we will give Gary every chance to prove his fitness."

Adkins' squad will stay in the same Berkshire hotel they used ahead of last month's Wembley defeat and Adkins is not worried about omens.

He added: "We are in good spirits for Sunday's game.

"We know that Millwall will start as favourites but we have beaten them twice this season."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 21, 2009
Words:222
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