Could Onel Hernandez be the answer to the riddle?
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Onel Hernandez could hold the key to Norwich City’s chronic lack of goals.
The Cuban-born wide player made a big impression on his second home start in the midweek 0-0 Championship draw against Nottingham Forest.
Hernandez appears to have adapted well to English football, since his January move from Germany, and his pace and ability to stretch defences is a key weapon for head coach Daniel Farke.
Norwich’s quest for goals is now Farke’s top priority over the run-in with just 34 in 35 league games stunting any prospect of a late play-off push.
“Onel is growing from day to day,” said Farke. “He had a decent impact against Nottingham Forest.
“He is still not there with 100pc impact.
“How can he be as it was just his second start? He still has to work a bit on his effectiveness, but he had a big workload, he won many duels and balls for us. He made some very good assists - the big chance for James Maddison in the second half with his cutback.
“If James had scored then he would have been praised even more. With Onel’s pace he can always create something special and give us something more in attacking situations.
“We are pleased to have him in the squad.”
Hernandez injected real dynamism into Norwich’s forward offering against the Reds.
“He can be a threat not just the next week or two but in the long term,” said Farke.
“It is always good to have pace on the wings.
“We had several weeks when we had to do without Josh (Murphy) on the other side.
“Now we have a second threat with high speed. We can mix up our game now. Sometimes you might need a number 10 who can play in the pocket, but other times you need that pace. Onel has the technical ability to fulfil both roles.”
Farke had kept faith with Nelson Oliveira during a barren spell but the striker was a notable absentee against Forest after the German questioned his work ethic at training.
City team mate Marley Watkins insists Oliveira’s wretched run of one goal in 13 games tells only part of the story.
“People look at one striker or one player to make it happen,” said the Welsh international.
“We haven’t got enough numbers into the box or crosses to support Nelson. We have lacked belief as a group.
“I think he has been brilliant. I know he gets judged on goals and people can say he is having a bad time but his all-round game has been good.
“I think he is one of the top strikers in this league.
“You can’t just rely on him to do it. You have to support him.
“As a player you can appreciate other aspects of what a striker does. He hasn’t got the credit he deserves for his hold up play.
“The gaffer makes his choice.
“He is the boss and you have to respect his decision. Certainly as players we are all behind him. Nelson works his socks off and he has all the ability in the world. “If he comes out of the side for one game and goes back in it might not be the worst thing.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt on the following channels…
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.