July 28, 2022 5.30 pm

Lincolnshire-born Tom Hopper raring to go as new Lincoln City captain

A local star is leading the Imps this season

Lincoln City forward Tom Hopper, born and bred in Lincolnshire, has been named club captain ahead of the new season – and he can’t wait to get going as the campaign begins this weekend.

The Imps will start their League One season on Saturday with a home fixture against newly-promoted Exeter City at the LNER Stadium. It will be Mark Kennedy‘s first competitive match in charge of Lincoln City, having replaced Michael Appleton as head coach in the summer.

One of the first big decisions the new manager had to make was naming a new club captain, following the departure of previous leader Liam Bridcutt as his contract expired.

He kept his candidate local, opting for Boston-born forward Tom Hopper, 28, who has now been at the club for two and a half years after joining from Southend United in January 2020.

Tom Hopper will be hoping to lead from the front as captain of Lincoln City. | Photo: Lincoln City FC

At a press conference ahead of the season curtain raiser, Hopper told The Lincolnite that there is “no hiding” from the pressure of being captain at a local team.

Tom said: “When you’re a Lincolnshire lad playing for a team in the county there’s no hiding from it, you have friends who are fans that will tell you if you’ve played rubbish, so there’s definitely pressure that comes with that.

“It’s a nice kind of pressure, though, when things go well you know you have people close to the club that are more receptive to that and you enjoy it a bit more. There’s definitely for’s and against’s for it, but all in all it’s brilliant.”

Imps boss Mark Kennedy. | Photo: Chris Vaughan / Lincoln City

Manager Mark Kennedy described Hopper as “an outstanding character” with “so much” to offer the side both on and off the pitch.

Kennedy said: “He leads by example with how he trains, he leads by example in how he conducts himself, he’s a very bright and intelligent guy when you speak to him.

“He’s got huge respect from the group, which he commands and he gives out, and ultimately he’s a good player. He offers so much. Everyone within the club will be pleased for Tom and I don’t think anyone will be surprised, though there were lots of capable candidates.”

The 28-year-old striker struggled with injuries last season which limited his game time, but he insists he is now raring to go after completing a full pre-season schedule.

He continued: “I missed too much football last year through injury, so with a full pre-season under my belt I feel ready to go this year.

“The lads are in the same boat, everyone can’t wait for Saturday to come around and get the fans back, I’m sure they’ll be here in great numbers to support us and we can’t wait to have them here.”

Hopper also discussed the standard of League One, which again has a host of big-name teams this year – including the likes of Barnsley, Derby County, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday.

“When you come into football at a young age you want to play against the best possible,” he said. “The standard of League One is improving massively year on year and I think that’s testament to English football.

“It’s going to be a challenge there’s no doubt about that, some really tough games, but ones you want to play in, but they don’t hold any more weight than any other game. No matter who you’re playing against, three points is the goal.”