Steve Cotterill: Birmingham City boss faces 'difficult' search for 20-goal striker

Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill rated Nuno's Championship leaders Wolves as "average" in Tuesday's 1-0 home defeat at St Andrew's
Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill (left) rated Nuno's Championship leaders Wolves as "average" in Tuesday's 1-0 home defeat at St Andrew's

Birmingham City boss Steve Cotterill says finding the sort of 20-goals-a-season striker the club have not had since the 1990s would be the answer in their bid for Championship survival.

Steve Claridge was Blues' last striker to achieve the feat 23 seasons ago.

City have only scored 10 goals in 20 games this season - and only three in eight since Cotterill took charge.

"We're trying to find a 20-goal striker, but they are very, very difficult to come by," he told BBC WM.

Steve Claridge
Steve Claridge was the last Birmingham City striker to hit 20 league goals in a season - in Barry Fry's third tier promotion-winning team of 1994-95

"And they are even more difficult to come by when we are in the situation we are in.

"You'd have to ask two questions. Number one. Is he for sale? Number two. Would he want to come to a team who's struggling?

"What this club hasn't had for probably at least four years here is someone who scores 20 goals. The only person I can remember getting even 15-plus would be Clayton Donaldson."

Blues' goals totals since being relegated from the Premier League in 2011
Season Goals scoredPlayers in double figures
2011-12 (46 games)78 - 1.69 per gameMarlon King 16, Chris Burke 13, Nikola Zigic 11
2012-13 (46 games)63 - 1.37 per gameMarlon King 13
2013-14 (46 games)58 - 1.26 per gameFederico Macheda 10
2014-15 (46 games)54 - 1.17 per gameClayton Donaldson 15
2015-16 (46 games)53 - 1.15 per gameClayton Donaldson 11
2016-17 (46 games)45 - 0.98 per gameLukas Jutkiewicz 11
2017-18 (20 games)10 - 0.50 per game(Top scorers: Che Adams 2 Jacques Maghoma 2)

How does Cotterill solve scoring problem?

Birmingham meagre tally this season makes them the English Football League's lowest scorers - and is a major reason why they are in the bottom three.

And Cotterill points out that their current problems in front of goal are part of a steady downward scoring trend at St Andrew's.

Since hitting 78 goals under Chris Hughton in their first season back in the Championship following relegation six years ago, Blues' goal tally has decreased slowly season on season - to the point where they are currently on course to average over a goal per game less than they did in 2011-12.

"It's been like that for a long time," said Cotterill. "Trying to change it overnight is extremely difficult. If there was an answer to it, I'd have done it a long time ago.

"It's painful at times seeing them suffer. We've tried everything. We've had one up front, we've had three up front, we've had two up front. All we can do is work on the training ground and just show a little bit more belief."

Cotterill does not even believe that the January window is a guaranteed fix, given the club's mistakes in the last two two transfer windows, under Gianfranco Zola, and then Harry Redknapp, since the controversial decision to sack Gary Rowett a year ago.

"It's a month when there will be unbelievable pressure," said Cotterill. "It's always traditionally a very, very difficult, over-inflated market.

"There's been a lot of money in the last two transfer windows and you'd like to think there'd be a little bit more to show for it. We've ended up very unbalanced, with a few players in certain areas and not enough in others."

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