'Involved in many chances' - Hernandez finding his rhythm for Canaries
- Credit: Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Fit-again winger Onel Hernandez is poised for another chance to impress, as Norwich City prepare to face title rivals Brentford this evening without Todd Cantwell.
The Cuban made his first league start in over four months during the 2-0 win at Wycombe on Sunday and with Cantwell nursing a calf problem in the hope of being back in contention for Saturday's home game against mid-table Luton, Hernandez looks set to start on the left wing again.
“It’s never easy for a player who was out quite long term with an injury, I would say he had a few promising cameos after coming on as a substitute," head coach Daniel Farke said of Hernandez's form since returning to fitness in January after groin surgery in October.
“Then the first game in more or less four months that he was not in the starting line-up. He had one cup game at Barnsley where he was not looking quite sharp but he needed this game to find his rhythm.
“Then his first start, a difficult away game against a side who were sitting quite deep, a 12 o’clock kick-off in the sunshine, which is never that easy.
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“Of course there were parts of his game that were not perfect but you also have to say that he was involved in many chances.
“He prepared, for example, Emi Buendia’s great chance in the second half, he prepared Kenny McLean’s good chance in the first half and he himself had great chances with a header where he should have scored and then after a great pass from Mario Vrancic a situation where he should have used his left foot when he also could have scored.
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“So there was the possibility for him to go away from this game with two goals and two assists and then everyone would have sung his name!
“So in general after this game you would say it was not a perfect performance but it was also important for him to have his first start under his belt. Onel is a good player and also quite important for us.”
Marco Stiepermann is also back in full training but will be considered for selection for the Luton game at the earliest.
Kieran Dowell is fully fit and eager for another chance though, and Farke says the former England Under-21 international is also able to take on the role Cantwell usually plays on the left.
“Kieran is capable of playing in such a role. We did this a few times during pre-season," City's boss explained. "If I’m honest he is a bit more a 'number 10' and this is his privileged role and best role in general for his game.
“But he can also play a bit like a ‘false number 10’ from the wing. With him it’s a bit like the same topic with Onel. I think Kieran was pretty impressive during pre-season and had a good start to the season but then was out for such a long time.
“Especially for a creative player it is not easy to come back into a side after being out for that long but he is a really good lad, he is working unbelievably hard in training.
“He had some solid and good performances when he came in and also some performances as a substitute where you could see he was a bit rusty, but there is only one answer, you have to work unbelievably hard on the training pitch to be prepared when you get your chance.
“I’m quite convinced that when there is an opportunity for him to be in the starting line-up or to have more minutes, then he can impress a bit more.”