City loanee Onel proves a goalscoring talisman for Blues

Norwich City's Onel Hernandez is proving a hit at Birmingham City on loan

Norwich City's Onel Hernandez is already a hit at Birmingham City on loan - Credit: PA

Onel Hernandez treated the Birmingham City fans to his trademark back flip celebration after a goalscoring home debut for the Norwich City loanee. 

Hernandez cut short a proposed season long move to Middlesbrough earlier this month to bolster the Blues’ bid to avoid being sucked into a Championship relegation battle. 

The Cuban international raced clear to slot the opener at St Andrew’s on Saturday in a 2-1 victory over Barnsley. 

Hernandez later won the corner that led to a winner for Lee Bowyer’s side, who ended a run of six league games without a win.   

“Very proud of the team. It feels incredible to get my first win since coming here. To score my first goal for Birmingham as well. Everything worked out,” he said. “Amazing assist from Jutki (Lukas Jutkiewicz) he played the ball in the space at the perfect time so I could use my pace and I didn’t even need to look up.

"I found myself in a good position and I just had to pass it past the keeper.  

“I wasn’t sure about the back flip for a celebration. I have not done it for a long while. I was a bit scared I would fall on my face. But we have to keep working.

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"We had to work hard as a team towards the end and that is something we can take into the next games. That togetherness is very important. We have good characters in the dressing room.” 

Hernandez could now come up against fellow Norwich City loanee Bali Mumba when Birmingham host Peterborough on Tuesday. 

The Blues' weekend win moved them 12 points clear of Posh, who occupy the third and final relegation place.

“I don’t mind playing right back, left back whatever the team needs from me. I just want to come here and play. I will try my best,” said the 28-year-old, speaking to Birmingham’s Youtube channel. “This is an intense period with a lot of games. We have another difficult game now so we have to keep going. There is more to come.  

“Everything went quickly, that is football. But I have settled in well and that is down to a lot of help from the club and the players here. I am happy.” 

Blues’ chief Bowyer likes what he sees from Hernandez. 

“That is why we brought him here. We have lacked that pace on the break. He has brought that to the group,” he said. “I thought it was an outstanding finish, he got away from the defender, who couldn’t catch him, and just passed it into the corner.

"That is his first goal and hopefully he can continue to get a few more.  

“I said to him the previous two days, ‘When you get the ball, make something happen. You have to be positive, you are a very good player.’ He won the corner that led to the winner as well by wanting to take a player on.

"There were a couple of times in the second half when we broke and he could have perhaps relaxed a bit more, rather than trying to force a pass. We will show him those clips and we can improve.” 

There was mixed fortunes for some of City's other loan contingent. Mumba played the full 90 minutes in a 3-0 Championship defeat at West Brom.

Jordan Hugill was again absent for the Baggies ahead of a potential mid-season loan switch to another Championship club.

Danel Sinani notched his fifth goal in the past 11 appearances for Huddersfield, who maintained their Championship play-off push with a 4-3 win at Reading.

But one of the club's younger loan exports, Tom Dickson-Peters, was again left out for Gillingham in a 3-2 League One defeat at Wigan.

The prolific teenage striker, who recently signed a new longer term Carrow Road deal, was brought to the Gills earlier this month by Steve Evans, who has since been dismissed by the bottom club.

Interim boss Steve Lovell, quoted on Kent Online, is still weighing up whether Dickson-Peters is part of his short terms plans.

"He was Steve Evans’ signing, I don’t know much about him, I haven’t seen much of him in training and that is something I have to address," said Lovell. 

“We do need bodies around but whether he is going to be good for us I don’t know, I need to see more of him, but with the boys we have got in front of him, I think it is going to be difficult for him to get in unless he starts showing what he is made of.”