Birmingham City stretched their unbeaten run in the Championship to 10 games at the weekend, after drawing 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers in West London.
Pep Clotet’s side have really turned a corner since the turn of the year and starting to look like a team who don’t know when they are beaten.
On Saturday, Clotet’s men should have really held onto a 1-0 lead, but they deserve credit for the way they bounced back from going 2-1 down to draw the game late on.
Scott Hogan was on the scoresheet for Blues once again, with the 27-year-old continuing to impress and write the headlines since joining on loan from Aston Villa in January.
Hogan opened the scoring in the first-half after a real piece of calmess, but QPR came out fighting and looked like a different team straight after the interval.
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Marc Pugh and Jordan Hugill netted in quick succession for Mark Warburton’s R’s, but there was Hogan to grab a late equaliser and extend their unbeaten run.
Here, we take a look at Hogan’s latest showing, with the striker continuing to make an impact following his arrival on loan from Villa Park…
Blues have been looking for a prolific forward to partner Lukas Jutkiewicz since the departure of Che Adams to Southampton in the summer, and that was certainly the biggest item on Clotet’s transfer agenda in January.
The signing of Alvaro Gimenez didn’t really work out, but whilst they are still lacking in strength in depth in the final third, Hogan’s arrival has certainly made a difference.
On Saturday, the Villa loanee took his tally up to six goals in seven games for Birmingham, with two clinical finishes earning his side a deserved point on the road.
His first came when Maxime Colin launched a long-ball over the top of the QPR defence – Hogan expertly beating the offside trap, before taking the ball around Liam Kelly and effectively running it into the empty net.
His second goal displayed his true striker’s instinct, as he found himself in the right place at the right time to head home from a Gary Gardner flick on – his second shot on target from a total of three attempts.
Clearly, Hogan’s movement was causing a problem for the R’s’ defence, with the striker having six touches inside the box which all led to his brace.
Whilst it’s his strike partner – Lukas Jutkiewicz – who is more known for his aerial threat and physical prowess, Hogan also enjoys a battle with opposition defenders, winning seven out of 11 offensive duels at the weekend.
His link-up play with his teammates was also hugely impressive, often dropping deep to connect the midfield to the attack and completing seven out of 10 passes successfully.
The big-man-little-man partnership of Adams and Jutkiewicz proved more than effective for Blues last season, and Hogan seems to be the ideal replacement for the former after what has been a remarkable start to life at St. Andrew’s.
Going forward, keeping the pair for good will only be beneficial for Clotet and his side’s future, and it’s starting to look like a must to tie him down to a permanent deal.