Birmingham City have endured a stuttering start to the Sky Bet Championship campaign under Pep Clotet, with Lukas Jutkiewicz failing to find the back of the net as frequently as he did last season.
The 30-year-old scored 14 goals in all competitions for Blues, spearheading them to within touching distance of the play-off spots before being hit with a nine-point deduction.
But the towering forward has failed to find the net on a regular basis under Clotet this season, scoring only three goals in 11 matches and failing to find the back of the net in his last five games.
After losing Che Adams to Southampton in the summer transfer window, a lot of focus was placed upon Jutkiewicz to fire in the goals for Blues this season, but so far, he has strugged to get into his usual rhythm.
Football League World’s Birmingham City fan pundit, Alex Young, says that the experienced front-man is still a very important player for Birmingham, despite his drought in front of goal.
He said: “Lukas Jutkiewicz continues to be a key player for Birmingham, even with the change in the team’s approach.
“He may have started the season in hot goal-scoring form, but his role in the team is changing, as we have adopted a possession-based system. Still, he is an essential part of the team, working tirelessly in the press and adding aerial prowess both defensively and offensively.”
A lot of changes took place at St. Andrew’s over the course of the summer, with Garry Monk leaving and two key players in Jota and Adams also moving onto pastures new.
A new manager often results in new ideas and new tactics at a club, and with Clotet switching his formation on various occasions this season, Young believes that the change in set-up has played a factor in Jutkiewicz’s lack of goals.
“Jutkiewicz’s goal threat will inevitably be diminished in a system that does not primarily utilise wingers and crosses into the box.
“His main strength, his aerial threat, is misspent; but it seems his role is now more of a supportive one – occupying defenders and creating space for the likes of attacking midfielders Fran Villalba, Jude Bellingham and Dan Crowley.
“Having the option to throw wide players on and cross the ball in for Jutkiewicz to attack is certainly not a bad ‘plan B’, should Blues be chasing a game.”
Blues currently sit 12th in the Sky Bet Championship table, and after a 2-1 home win over Middlesbrough last time out, Clotet will be hoping that that victory can help change his side’s fortunes after the international break.
But having managed to score only 11 goals from their 11 league games, looking ahead to January, our regular punter believes that a new forward should be on the transfer wishlist in order to support the likes of Jutkiewicz and Alvaro Gimenez up top.
“The loss of Che Adams in the summer has left a large void in forward areas, and Jutkiewicz’s numbers will suffer as a result.
“While the departure of Adams was inevitable for the right price, Isaac Vassell’s exit was a surprise, especially given no replacement was lined up. This leaves Blues with two similar senior strikers in Jutkiewicz and Alvaro Gimenez – lacking a pacey finisher.
“A forward of this ilk must be a top priority for Birmingham, but with Financial Fair Play being a constant concern and a decent spend in the previous summer, a big name signing might be unrealistic.
“It might just be the perfect opportunity for a youngster such as Odin Bailey to step up.”
Who is the better centre-back; Roberts or Morrison?