Bullen hails two-goal hero Hooper as Sheffield Wednesday beat Birmingham

Sheffield Wednesday coach Lee Bullen praised two-goal striker Gary Hooper after the Owls came from behind to see off Birmingham at St Andrews.

Saturday, 6th February 2016, 6:35 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th February 2016, 8:09 pm
Gary Hooper scores his first of two goals against Birmingham

Wednesday had lost Kieran Lee to injury in the warm-up then Keiren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson were forced off before Clayton Donaldson had the home side in front.

However, the Owls fought back and two in two minutes from Hooper as the game headed towards the final stages secured a massive win for Carlos Carvalhal's men.

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The head coach had to forgo his post-match press duties as he was due to catch a flight, and standing in, Bullen could do nothing but pay tribute to the Wednesday players, not least the man of the moment, Hooper.

"His goalscoring track record is second to none whether down here or up in Scotland," said Bullen. "He has proved that again against Birmingham. His finishing was excellent. He has been a great signing for us and he feels really happy at the club. We are now in the play-off (position) and we know on our day we are as good a match for any club."

On the team's performance as a whole, Bullen added: "It was a fantastic game of football under difficult conditions. Early injuries to Kieren Westwood and Sam Hutchinson hindered us until we got going again. Birmingham got a foothold in the game and caused us problems but we kept plugging away.

"We have good, good players and somewhere along the line they eventually find a way back into the game. Hooper's first goal was fantastic. Some of the one-touch play on a difficult pitch was sublime. To go and get the second goal a few minutes later made us ecstatic. We were hindered losing two players so early in the game but we have a very good squad."

Birmingham boss Gary Rowett was left frustrated by his side giving the lead, saying:

It was incredibly frustrating as we started really well. The injury to their goalkeeper and the 10-minute stoppage took the impetus out of the game. We got it back really well and dominated the first half. To go in 1-0 up at half time I was really pleased but felt we should have done a little more to stop the game becoming too open at times.

"When you have the attacking players Sheffield possess you know they only need one chance. In the second half we had another great chance when Donaldson missed from close range. I was disappointed as another goal at that point might have deflated Wednesday and taken it the game out of their reach."