And since then stand-in Hooper has scored four goals and formed a formidable new partnership with Swedish star Johan Elmander.
He said: "Ricky was unlucky to get injured, so he's a big player to come back. But although Johan and I are still learning about each other, I think we have shown we can play really well together.
"We both put a shift in and I think we are doing pretty well."
Hughton said: "I can't play all three of them, so it gives me a problem.
"It's a nice problem to have though."
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