Sunday Spotlight: Stevenage’s Diego Lopez

Stevenage

In today's Sunday Spotlight, Vincent Ralph takes a look at the man who scored two hat-tricks, in two weeks, for two different clubs.

It will be a pub quiz question one day. Who scored hat-tricks on consecutive weekends for two different clubs?

The answer is Diego Lopez, who scored three on loan at Barnet and three more on his return to Stevenage just a week later.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, signed in the summer from Numancia, was making his first start for the League One side, after his time at the Bees and a previous loan spell at Aldershot saw him score nine goals in 17 appearances.

The former Atletico Madrid youth player’s treble against Sheffield United maintained that impressive scoring streak, and begged the question: why has it taken him this long to start for the club who signed him on a free on the last day of the summer transfer window?

As well as helping Stevenage to three points last weekend, his keen eye for goal dented the Blades’ chances of automatic promotion; although ultimately it didn’t save manager Gary Smith, who was sacked on Wednesday after a 2-0 loss to Bury.

Lopez failed to find the net on that occasion, but all eyes will be on him again today as he leads the line against Tranmere Rovers, themselves looking to break into the closest promotion push in England.

While it may be too late for Stevenage to achieve anything more than mid-table security this season, in Lopez they have a player who has rediscovered the scoring touch that saw him net 22 goals for Getafe B, and a further 19 for Las Rozas the following year.

Those successes came in Spain’s fourth division. He has already proved he can do similar in both the fourth and the third tier of English football.

Given a full season next year, there is no reason why he couldn’t repeat those statistics.

Young enough to improve and old enough to know a thing or two, the striker may just be using the end of this season as a cameo for next year’s star turn.

How good a signing will Diego Lopez prove to be for Stevenage?  And will other clubs already be taking note of his goal-scoring form?

image: © eepaul

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