Birmingham City face a real battle to stay in the Championship, but the appointment of Lee Bowyer has provided fresh optimism at St. Andrew’s.
Even though he has only had two games in charge, the former player will have already recognised that Scott Hogan will be crucial to Blues’ chances of remaining in the second tier.
The Ireland international has hit six goals in 29 games this season, which is by no means a great return, but the fact that is double any other Birmingham player highlights the major problem that Bowyer has inherited – the team don’t score enough goals.
When you break down Hogan’s contribution, there are reasons for positivity though.
Sofascore reveal how the 28-year-old has missed six big chances this season to go with his six goals, and whilst that wouldn’t normally be something to be pleased about, it shows Hogan is getting in the right positions.
Plus, most of those chances came under Aitor Karanka, who favoured a formation that played with one striker and he was defensive in his setup.
Bowyer is encouraging more attacking play, even if he favours a direct approach, and that could suit Hogan.
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Firstly, all of his goals this season have come in the box, which won’t surprise anyone. That proves that the ex-Brentford man does his best work as a poacher, meaning he should benefit from playing alongside a target man.
With Lukas Jutkiewicz and Sam Cosgrove at the club, Bowyer will always be able to pair Hogan with a physical striker, which could bring the best out of the attacker.
He won’t need to be a presence leading the line, instead he can play off the big man, focus on picking up knock-downs and running in behind.
Ultimately, Bowyer has to work with what he’s got, and there’s no doubt that Hogan is the best natural finisher at the club, so he will need to score the goals that keep Blues up.
Looking back, Karanka didn’t play to the strengths of the striker, but that has already changed under the new regime. Hogan is sure to be a regular from now until May, and it’s down to him to repay that faith in Bowyer by rediscovering his ruthlessness.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.