Date: 4th July 2017 at 10:55pm
Written by:

The championship really is one of the most unique and unpredictable leagues in world football. It`s a cliché, but it is true that any side is capable of beating any of the others if things go their way on a Saturday afternoon.

That being said, as players flock back to their clubs to begin their pre-season preparations there is always a huge sense of optimism, and this year is no different.

At the time of writing, it is likely that as many 12 teams will fancy a chance of finishing the season in the top six, and Harry Redknapp`s Blues fit firmly within this group.

What separates the top six sides from the rest is goals. In particular, a clinical centre forward who is likely to provide their team with a return of 20 or more goals across the 46 game campagin.

Last season was no exception to this.

Both sides who went on to win automatic promotion had a recognised goal scorer spearheading their attack.

For champions Newcastle United, this came in the form of Dwight Gayle. Gayle`s 23 league goals came at an astonishing 93 minutes per goal, an incredible return considering that the ex-Crystal Palace and Peterborough United man missed 14 Championship fixtures through injury.

For runners up Brighton and Hove Albion, it was the talismanic 33-year-old Glenn Murray. Murray also scored 23 league goals, coming in at a slightly higher 150 minutes played per goal scored.

That being said, Blues must score more goals next season if they are to have any chance of making the play offs, but the burning question for Redknapp and his team is where is this extra firepower going to come from?

In terms of looking at the options already at Blues` disposal, there are two clear candidates.

The first is Lukas Jutkiewicz. Signed on loan from Premier League side Burnley last summer, Jutkiewicz ended the campaign as Blues top scorer with 11 league goals, representing one of his most successful seasons in his professional career.

His hold up play was brilliant and he certainly led the line well in difficult circumstances.

However, if Blues are to further progress they must look to recruit someone who is likely to provide them with a greater return, particularly if you look at the penalty of some of the clear-cut chances that Jutkiewicz failed to convert.

The other weapon at Redknapp`s disposal is Che Adams.

Adams is a much more interesting option, due to his potential and the reported Premier League interest in his services. Whilst he only scored seven league goals, his season was very stop-start as he spent lots of time on the bench and playing in a variety of different positions.

Goals against Wolves and Preston North End proved that he certainly has an eye for goal, and a full season playing in an advanced role may allow Adams to carry much of the side`s goal scoring burden. It is however a big ask to expect the 20-year-old to carry this weight on his own.

In light of this, it is vital that Blues bring in new faces in the forward positions between now and the deadline.

The club have already been linked with Lois Diony and Jordan Hugill, and it is now up to the management to decide whether to take a risk on a player abroad or play it safe in the more expensive UK market.

What is certain is that extra firepower is required and Blues must look to upgrade on what they already have if they want to have a chance of making the play offs.

This is now up to Redknapp and Director of Football Jeff Vetere to consider, and it will certainly be interesting to see who they are able to recruit in the weeks and months to come.

 
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