So, with a new face at the helm, some new players on the pitch and hopefully a new lease of life, where are Blues going to end up when the campaign is finished?
FourFourTwo has us finishing 17th, which is a few places higher than when we finished last season, and a darn sight higher than where we were predicted to finish last summer, when they said we’d finish 23rd.
They note a few reasons for optimism, citing “their financial black hole partly filled by the Jude Bellingham millions and their defence set to be improved by the arrival of Aitor Karanka (and departure of Lee Camp). Expect gradual recovery.”
And to be honest, I think they have got it spot on (although given how Lee Camp arguably improved into one of our better players at the end of the last campaign, that comment might have been a little harsh).
Where will Blues finish this season?
Top half of the table
Bottom half but comfortable
And it’s the last line of their prediction that really sticks with me, gradual recovery. That’s really what the club need to be aiming for this season, and I think it’s achievable. We all know that Aitor Karanka should be able to come in and help us straight away, in the two years he was Middlesbrough head coach in this division his team recorded back to back seasons in which they conceded the fewest goals, something we could certainly do with after the last campaign.
So we should see a gradual uptick in that department which should help us move up the table. I just hope fans are willing to accept a ‘gradual’ progress this season. I wouldn’t be setting expectations too high. Give Karanka a season and we should start moving in the right direction and barring something disastrous, he shouldn’t be given a tough ride from the fans.
This is a long-term vision from the club, and it needs to be treated as such, not just from the stands (so to speak), but hopefully from the boardroom as well.