It looked as though last season’s beaten play-off finalists would have to settle for a point but eight minutes from time Hendrick swept home a Cyrus Christie cross.
For Hendrick it was a case of picking up from where he left off last season after the midfielder struck four times in his final six appearances.
McClaren has high hopes for the 22-year-old. “Jeff will be a player to watch for us this season,” McClaren said. “He has got everything; he has strength, is a box-to-box player and he can score goals. He ended last season very strongly and we’re looking forward to more from him this year.”
Hendrick has set himself a goals target but is keeping the figure private.
“I’ve got a target, but I haven’t really told anyone so that’s for everyone to guess,” he said. “At the end of last year I got a few goals and I want to bring that into this year and thankfully I got the goal and it’s got us three points. Hopefully I can get many more this season.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich got off to the perfect start with a 2-1 win over Fulham. Irish striker Daryl Murphy was the star of the show, scoring the first after 32 minutes with a clinical finish before providing the cross that led to David McGoldrick scoring the second.
“Murph was excellent,” McCarthy said. “He took his goal well and did great for Didz’s [McGoldrick’s] goal.
Shaun Williams’ late penalty wrapped up the points for Millwall as they eased to a 2-0 win over Leeds. Millwall struck early but had to wait until two minutes from time to make the game safe as Dubliner Williams converted a spot-kick. Ireland No 1 David Forde will be pleased to have started the season with a clean sheet, a feat emulated by Keiren Westwood, the main threat to Forde’s international jersey, in Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Brighton.
In yesterday’s action there was disappointment for Wes Hoolahan as Norwich began their challenge for animmediate return to the Premier League with a 1-0 defeat to Wolves.
In League One, Eoin Doyle lobbed home what proved to be the winner as Chesterfield won 2-1 at Leyton Orient, while a penalty from Alan Sheehan helped Bradford to a 3-2 victory over Coventry.
Paddy Madden was another Irishman to find the net, although his Scunthorpe side lost 3-1 to Swindon.
In League Two, a brace from James Collins earned Shrewsbury Town a 2-2 draw with Wimbledon, while a penalty from Pádraig Amond helped Morecombe beat Dagenham & Redbridge 3-0.
In the Scottish Premiership, Jim Goodwin’s season got off to the worst possible start as he was sent off after being shown a second yellow card for dissent in St Mirren’s 1-0 defeat at Motherwell. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Championship, Rangers lost 2-1 at home to Hearts.