Name: Tom Hopper
Born: 14 December 1993, Boston
Former Club: Southend United
Contract Expires: June 2023 (according to transfermarkt)
2019/20: Appearances 5 (3) Goals 2
2020/21: Appearance 26 (4) Goals 6 (up to 11/02/21)
Tom Hopper signed for the Imps on January 23, 2020, joining for an undisclosed fee from Southend United. He had been a target for the previous manager Danny Cowley, but became on of Michael Appleton’s earliest captures, with the boss signing Hopper’s praises as he arrived. “He’s at a very good age,” Appleton said on completing the deal. “He probably looks fitter now than he’s ever been at any stage of his career. He’s gone through an injury layoff, which sometimes isn’t a bad thing for players.
“I know that from personal experience because, from a mentality point of view, it takes you to places you don’t really want to go to. I’ve watched him a few times this season for Southend live and I’ve been really impressed. I think he’ll be a fantastic addition to the football club.”
Hopper made his Lincoln debut a couple of days later, coming off the bench as Ipswich won 1-0 in a dour encounter. He made his first start a week after signing, playing up front with Tyreece John-Jules as we went down 2-0 against Portsmouth. He scored his first City goals eight games into his Sincil Bank stay, bagging a brace on what turned out to be the final day of the 2019/20 season as we beat Burton Albion 3-2. He started the 2020/21 season in good form, scoring the first goal of the new campaign against Crewe in the EFL Trophy, as well as earning a penalty and grabbing a goal as we beat MK Dons.
Hopper began his career with hometown club Boston United, becoming their youngest-ever player when he came on as a substitute for goalscorer Spencer Weir-Daley in their Challenge Cup victory over Hucknall Town at the age of 15. His talents were spotted by Leicester City, and in the summer of 2010 he moved to the Foxes.
He made his Leicester City debut in 2012, coming off the bench as they beat Swindon 2-0 in the FA Cup. In 2012/13 he moved on loan to Bury, where he made his full Football League debut in their League One outing against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. He scored three goals from 22 starts for the Shakers before returning to Leicester, where he appeared twice in the Carling Cup the following season.
In 2014/15 he joined Scunthorpe United on loan, starting 12 League One matches, scoring four times. He returned to Leicester City in the summer, but was released after a disciplinary breach, resulting in a permanent move to The Iron.
After 23 goals in 119 appearances, he departed Glanford Park, briefly being linked with a move to the Imps, before signing for League One side Southend United. His early form at Roots Hall was sensational, smashing seven goals in 14 matches before anterior cruciate ligament damage ruled him out for nine months. He returned to the Southend side at the start of the 2019/20 season, scoring three times in 16 outings before City came calling.
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