Birmingham City have enjoyed an encouraging start to the Championship season and there are plenty of positives for them to build on from the opening month of the campaign.
Lee Bowyer’s side head into the international break in 8th place in the table having suffered just one defeat and having managed to pick up eight points from a possible 15.
Considering that Bowyer inherited a side that were deep in a relegation battle towards the end of last season in the Championship, the Blues have been making some real progress with some of their summer signings bedding in very well early on this time around.
Having said that, there will likely be a frustration that Birmingham do not have some more points on the board at this stage in the campaign.
There have been a couple of games where they might have picked up one or two more points than they managed to do and that is something they will look to improve.
With the summer window now over clubs in the Championship can focus their full attention on the rest of the campaign up until January.
We will now find out a lot more about where the Blues sit in the division over the next few weeks.
So with all that in mind, we take a look at TWO dilemmas that Bowyer will be thinking over during the international break…
How to best integrate Troy Deeney into the starting line-up
This is not exactly a bad dilemma for Bowyer to have to weigh up during the international break, but he will have to be considering the best way that he can get new signing Troy Deeney into the starting line-up to get the best out of him.
Deeney arrived from Watford as a major signing for Birmingham in the final days of the transfer window.
Securing his signature was a massive statement of intent from the Blues after what has been a promising start to the campaign.
Being a supporter of the Blues, Deeney will have an instant rapport with fans and they will be excited to see what he can bring to the table for Birmingham in the Championship this season.
The experienced forward is capable of playing up front on his own and leading the line with his strength and ability to link the play with runners in and around him in the final third.
While he is equally able to play up alongside another forward and combine with them in and around the penalty area.
Therefore, Bowyer needs to consider whether he can pair him upfront with the likes of either Lukas Jutkiewicz, Scott Hogan or Chuks Aneke.
The three forwards all have different qualities and the dynamics of a strike partnership with Deeney and the trio would all be different depending on who was chosen to partner him.
If Bowyer can get this right and get Deeney into the side and firing in the final third, then Birmingham’s chances of enjoying a strong season will have been greatly enhanced.
20 quiz questions about Birmingham City’s 2021/22 season so far – Can you score full marks?
How to get Birmingham picking up results against the division’s best teams
Make no mistake it has been a very good start to the season for Birmingham and something of a breath of fresh air to see them now with a clear plan under a good manager like Bowyer.
Having said that, though Birmingham have shown what they are really capable off in fits and starts in the opening month of the campaign.
The Blues’ 5-0 thrashing of Luton Town demonstrated that this side has the quality on their day to be a major force in the Championship this term against any opponent.
However, Birmingham were found wanting in their two most difficult games of the campaign to date.
Defeats at home to Bournemouth and Fulham (in the League Cup) are reminders that Bowyer’s side still have work to do to match and then beat the best teams within the Championship this season.
The Blues face a rematch with Fulham in the league in September at St Andrews. That contest will be a chance for them to show that they can indeed match up with the best the Championship has to offer this term.