New arrival James Hooper came off the bench to make his first appearance for the club in the 0-0 draw with Luton on Tuesday night and he admitted this week that the appearance had given an appetite for more of the same as he starts his two-month stay with the Cumbrians.
“It was a good feeling to be out there and playing again,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to and it’s the reason I signed, because I wanted to get some games under my belt.
“When the gaffer gave me the nod to get ready on Tuesday night it was all about excitement. I just wanted to get on the pitch and show everybody what I’m about, particularly with it being such a big game.
“I got my head down and worked hard and on another day I might have got a couple of other opportunities. Hopefully they’ll come when I get some more game time.”
Speaking about what we can expect to see when he takes to the pitch, he said: “I like to think I’m quite direct as a player. If there’s an opportunity to shoot I tend to give it a go. That’s what I’ve always done and I was a bit gutted the other night because I don’t think I hit the chance I had that well.
“Like I say, hopefully more chances will come my way. The good thing was that it was really nice to get out there to see the stadium and the fans. It’s all about getting more of it now.
“I’m an attacker and I like to think I can score goals as well. I am direct so I’ll be looking to get opportunities. If the chance is there I’ll always back myself to take it.”
Having spent three weeks on trial at the club, he admitted that it had still been a bit of a surprise to get the nod to play a part so soon after putting pen to paper.
“It was a fairly quick turnaround from being told there’d be a contract to getting the shirt on my back, but that’s part of the game and the way things go,” he told us. “You know what you’re getting in to, so if you can be ready mentally it means you are more prepared take the opportunity when it comes.
“I’m just grateful that the manager here has given me an opportunity and, to be honest, I think now more than ever I’m ready to take it. I’m really buying in to what he’s trying to do and it’s a great group of lads. It’s over to me to do my bit now.”
Looking back at his time at Spotland, where he picked up the Young Player of the Season award during his last term as a scholar, he said: “Things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to at Rochdale, but that’s football as well.
“I had a really good time there, with coming through the youth team and going on to make my debut. There was a little spell in the first team but most of it was on the bench and I didn’t really get the experience I needed.
“The chance to go on loan with Stockport and FC United of Manchester came round and they are two really good non-league clubs. I learned a lot about the physical side of the game and how to deal with men’s football.
“Playing against bigger lads meant I learned a lot about myself as well. Obviously when I got back to Rochdale I felt it was probably the right time to go because sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason and maybe I just needed a new start and clean slate for myself.”
“Definitely, 100%, I have something to prove,” he insisted. “It’s a massive time for me now and I have until the end of the season to make a name for myself. It’s actually really exciting that I’ve got a couple of months to do it.
“Getting onto the pitch on Tuesday has made me believe even more that I’m going to get my opportunities. There’s a buzz around the place again after the performance against Luton and we’re looking for more of the same on Saturday. I’m looking to play my part in that.”
United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with James Hooper now. Click HERE
to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.
to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.