Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett says Watford loanee Diego Fabbrini received “the reception of an icon” from Blues fans on Saturday and believes the Italian will become a fans’ favourite during his short stay at St Andrews.

The 24-year-old made debut for the Midlands club at the weekend and helped Rowett’s side complete a 2-1 win over local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Fabbrini, who was wearing a protective mask after breaking his nose in training, impressed during the victory and was given a standing ovation when he was replaced late into the game by David Davis.

The former Italy international can only play four further games for Birmingham but that hasn't stopped Rowett from tipping Fabbrini to leave a lasting impression on the Blues supporters. 

“Some players are just naturally liked by fans. It’s hard to put a finger on it,” Rowett told the Birmingham Mail after the match.

“I have seen it in the past as an English player I could be sticking my head through tackles and playing with a broken ankle and don’t even get a cheer or no-one even says my name.

“Then you see a player with a little bit more flair come on to the pitch and the crowd automatically warms.

“I think everyone wants and an icon or a hero and I certainly think he got the reception of an icon on Saturday.

“It’s early days yet but I certainly think he could be very well liked by the fans here.

“They chanted him as he went off and I am sure that has made him feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Fabbrini, who signed for Watford from Udinese in July 2013, has made just four appearances for the Hornets this season, the last of which came against Brentford in September.