Birmingham boss Garry Monk will be hoping that he has more freedom in the transfer market over the summer, which will allow him to build a squad that can compete for a top six finish.
The former Leeds boss has done an outstanding job at St. Andrew’s and an unlikely play-off challenge seemed possible this season until a nine-point deduction had Blues looking nervously over their shoulders for a while.
Ultimately, they will be finishing in the bottom half but there are positive signs at the club and Monk will see potential in the group.
One player who has grown as the season’s progressed is Connor Mahoney.
The winger arrived on loan from Bournemouth and initially played a bit-part role before gradually forcing his way into the XI and he has been an important player over the past few months.
He is one of few players in the squad that has the ability to beat the opposition and there is a sense of excitement and intrigue about what he can do with the ball when in possession.
Even though the 22-year-old is by no means the finished product, he has a lot of talent and this has been a productive loan spell for him.
Therefore, Blues will be desperate to keep him next season and they will take encouragement from the fact that Mahoney told Birmingham Live that he would be open to another season with the west midlands club.
Realistically, he will still be way down the pecking order with the Cherries and Eddie Howe will recognise that the best way for Mahoney to develop is by playing football.
So, it’s over to Monk and his team to act quickly and decisively to ensure they are at the front of the queue when the youngster becomes available again.
Blues supporters really appreciate this team because of the way the team works as one and give their all despite clear limitations. Yet, to make that next step there has to be that extra touch of quality.
And, after a promising season, fans will see that Mahoney could develop into a star player as he continues to improve and they will hope to welcome him back to Birmingham as the team look to kick-on under Monk.
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