Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka has claimed that striker Sam Cosgrove can potentially be even better for the club than Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Cosgrove joined Birmingham on a three-and-a-half year deal from Aberdeen in the final week of the January transfer window, having scored 47 goals in 103 appearances in all competitions for the Scottish Premiership side.
Now it seems as though Karanka is expecting big things from Cosgrove during his time at St Andrew’s, as the Blues look for a goalscorer to pull them away from the Championship relegation zone.
Speaking about Cosgrove’s recruitment by the Blues, Karanka was quoted by Birmingham Live as saying: “He is the player we were expecting, he can play in the box. He needs to settle in because the intensity of our training sessions are different, the Championship in some respects is not the [Scottish] league.”
Given his expectations for the striker, it is perhaps no surprise to see Karanka is keen to get him involved quickly, something it seems Cosgrove shares, with the Spaniard adding: “If I think about him maybe he can play on Saturday, he is someone who is going to help us a lot because in the same way as Rekeem and Yan, he is hungry, he is young, he is desperate to show how good he is and desperate to score goals and help us. I think he is ready, for that reason we signed him now.
“It is true if we are going to compare him with Jukey it is impossible because Jukey is more experienced, he has scored goals, Sam can be as good or even better than Jukey.”
Even so, it seems Karanka is keen not to put too much pressure on the 24-year-old too soon, as he claimed: “We need to keep calm with him, we can’t put all the pressure on him scoring goals now when we are not scoring.
“He is young, he needs help, I am not going to put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He arrived just one week ago and he is not responsible we are not scoring goals.”
Birmingham currently sit 21st in the Championship table, two points clear of the relegation zone, going into their clash with Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
This is a big claim for Karanka to make.
Although things haven’t quite gone as he would have wanted them to this season, Jutkiewicz has still been a really useful player for Birmingham over the years.
As a result, Cosgrove may have to go some way if he is to match him, although his record at Aberdeen does suggest he has the potential to do that.
Indeed, given the pressure that is one Birmingham in the Championship right now, they may well need him to do that quickly if they are avoid relegation to League One this season.