When you think of Birmingham City you don’t often think about a free scoring team or prolific scoring pairs however this seems to be a changing trend with Blues managing 30 goals already this season compared to last season pathetic 38. This time last season blues had only managed 10 goals. We had a wealth of attacking options last season with Adams, Gallaher, Boga, Maghoma, Jutkiewicz, Jota and Vassell ( until November ) so there was a much better range of depth and quality compared to this season but there are two distinct differences.
Those changes are James Beattie and a very clear and concise way of playing. Beatties experience and knowledge of finishing has been very apparent since his appointment and that is shown in the stats from this season with the pairing of Adams and Jutkiewicz racking up 19 of those 30. Beattie, Adams and Jutkiewicz have all been quoted about the work that is being done on the training field and that beattie’s experience has come in handy with the former saints forward working very hard with the pair on the training field and its showing as the pair have really found their rhythm this season.
Not only is it the technique that the players have been working on but it’s a clear way of playing and a way in which the two can link up and be more of a pair than a couple of individuals which blues have been accustomed to in recent seasons. Monk and his backroom staff have really highlighted their strengths and will use Juke as the hold-up man who will link up play and look to move the ball an get into the box while Adams will look to get into the channels and get in behind while also having the ability to drop deep and collect the ball.
The forward two are very much team players and I think the work ethic has also played a massive part in the pair becoming more prolific in front of goal as we’ve seen a Che Adams with more desire and fire in his belly and this has in my opinion helped him score a few more with Preston being in prime example of this. A player who I doubt would have chased a ball so willingly in the final 10 minutes and driving at pace to cool finish and this is testament to the forwards new found confidence and hunger.
I think we all knew that the forward two had the ability especially Che, but blues have never been able to harness the full potential of forwards and this is why I believe that Beattie and Monk’s backroom staff need to take a huge slice of credit for finding a system that suits our forwards.
Words by James Jenkinson