Aitor Karanka probably hasn’t had the start he would have wanted to his tenure as Birmingham City manager.
Following the reign of fellow Spaniard Pep Clotet, Karanka has shifted the emphasis on becoming defensively solid once again, and for the most part he has done just that.
Birmingham’s attacking output could be a lot better though, and considering they have the likes of Scott Hogan on their books and an exciting winger in Jeremie Bela, and goalscoring is something they’ll have to improve on in the coming weeks.
There’s also another issue around the corner though for Karanka and that is the upcoming January transfer window.
Karanka is unlikely to have massive funds to strengthen his options at the beginning of 2021, and may even have to cash in on someone.
Let’s take a look at a couple of decisions that the 47-year-old may have to make as the next transfer window looms.
A battle to keep hold of Kristian Pedersen
Pedersen is one of Birmingham’s key outlets at left back, and has attracted considerable interest from bigger clubs in the past.
The 26-year-old made his international debut for Denmark last month and being exposed to football on the biggest stage will only make the number of suitors for his signature increase.
Pedersen is probably the biggest asset Birmingham own right now, and whilst fans will want to keep him for as long as possible, finances due to COVID-19 may play a part in the club cashing in on him.
Letting Dan Crowley go and play regular football
The Arsenal academy graduate is an exciting player on his day and has done it at the top level on a regular basis in Holland a couple of years ago.
Those days seem a long time ago now though for the 23-year-old, who Karanka doesn’t seem to fancy as a starting option.
In fact Birmingham fans haven’t seen Crowley make a league appearance for seven whole games, after he was dragged off against Sheffield Wednesday after just 58 minutes.
Even though he only notched one goal and five assists last season for the Blues, Crowley’s talent is there for all to see. If Karanka doesn’t fancy him in his system, he may have to let him go – whether that be temporarily on loan or permanently.