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Southend 15:00 Gillingham

Orient swoop for striker

By Mark Buckingham.   Last Updated: 15/03/07 6:41pm

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Leyton Orient have signed Southend United striker Gary Hooper on loan for the rest of the season.

Hooper joined Southend on a free transfer from Grays Athletic last summer and has made 18 appearances in the Championship, although only two have been from the start.

His only goals for Steve Tilson's side came in the Carling Cup win at Leeds United in October and he will now finish the campaign with The O's.

Shrimpers boss Tilson is confident the teenager will benefit from his time with the League One side.

And Tilson also admitted it is an opportunity for him to assess whether Hooper merits a new contract at Roots Hall next season.

"Gary's a good young player, but he needs games to gain some experience, so a move to Orient is good for him and us," Tilson told the club's official website.

"We'll see how he gets on, his contract is up in the summer and we'll have to make a decision about his future."

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