TWO-goal James Hanson diverted the praise on to team-mate Jason Kennedy for City’s flying start to League One.
Hanson’s last-gasp header from a Kennedy cross, straight after Coventry had equalised for a second time, clinched a thrilling 3-2 win at Valley Parade.
It was City’s first opening-day league victory for six years and Hanson’s first goals since March. But the striker acknowledged the supporting role of midfielder Kennedy, whose Valley Parade future has been in the balance after a tough first season at the club.
Hanson said: “JK’s had a bit of a weird summer because he didn’t know if he was coming or going. But he just kept his head down and got his rewards.
“Everyone’s head dropped after they scored again but he produced a little bit of magic at the end. Coventry switched off after scoring and he found that touch of quality with the cross.
“It was quite an easy header. Parky (Steve Parkin) does a lot of those crosses in training and you just have to direct it because the power is already on the ball.
“The gaffer’s been saying all week that we need to get more crosses in and be a bit more positive. It’s my job to get on the end of them.”
Kennedy is determined to win over Phil Parkinson and the City boss gave him a starting role over Matty Dolan.
Parkinson said: “Jason struggled last year to dislodge Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones, two very good players. When he came in, he found it physically tough because he’s a player who’s used to playing. But he said to me he feels he has a point to prove to the crowd, to himself and to me.
“As a player you’ve got to let your performances do the talking and that was a good start for him.”
With his back injury solved, Hanson believes he can rediscover top form again after a frustrating end to the last campaign.
The striker added: “It was so frustrating because I missed that many games. It felt brilliant just to be back out there.
“My main aim in the summer has been to get the back right and build my fitness. If I’m being honest, it took all pre-season to get my sharpness back.”
Parkinson saluted the efforts of his centre forward and said: “We know if we put balls in those areas, his leap, his power and his coolness is second to none. It was a magnificent performance.”
The City chief was just as happy to see Hanson win their first penalty for nine months after a tug from Reda Johnson at a corner. Alan Sheehan converted it in front of the Kop.
“We only had one penalty last year and it’s been a big talking point for us.
“Hanson gets pulled all over the place but gets foul after foul (given) against him.
“I was pleased to see a bit of justice after the way Reda Johnson was grappling with him. It was great movement from a corner and I shouted before the ref even blew his whistle.”
Hanson added: “It was a stone-wall penalty. He just grabbed me and didn’t let me go.
“There have been a few like that so it’s just nice to see decisions go my way. But the main thing was the three points because we haven’t won on the first day for a while.”