Scoring six goals as a striker shouldn’t really command much praise, but Lukas Jutkiewicz certainly deserves some credit for the resilience he showed last season.
As a Gary Rowett signing, he was never particularly favoured during the reign of two of his successors, Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill.
It was something that I could not get my head around considering Jukes’ 12 goals during a tumultuous 2016/17 campaign. An excellent target man, who can bring others into the game, Garry Monk saw his qualities straight away when he was named manager back in March.
He started every single game under the new boss, scoring four goals in 11 matches, including the crucial opener versus Fulham on the final day of the season. The 29-year-old had a significant impact, and will likely play just an important role for us when we start again in August.
Lukas is not a man who will score 20 goals a season. It’s not something he has ever done in his career but for me, his selection in the team is integral when we are playing 4-4-2. In the system, wingers have to play an important part in creating chances, giving width and delivering crosses. Our no.10 has the perfect attributes to take advantage of those balls into the box.
However, while his all-round play is a key component of how we may set up next campaign, the need for more goals up top is just as vital. The quest for a prolific number nine to partner Jutkiewicz is, therefore, a top priority for us.
Without one, Jutkiewicz would continue to make an impact but he won’t be as effective. As I have said previously, 38 goals in 46 league games is just not good enough. While we do have players like the former Burnley man who can hit double figures in a season, to really make our mark in the Championship, we need a potent attacking duo that Monk can rely upon week in and week out.