The worst news that any Blues fan could hear came to fruition this morning. No, Lee Clark hasn’t been offered a contract extension, but Marlon King is now set to miss the remainder of the season.
The reoccurrence of Kings knee problem means he will have to undergo an operation, to sort it out. This leaves the current forward line very thin and desperately light in terms of having a natural goal scorer in the squad. King has scored 13 in the league this season (14 overall) and accounts for almost a third of Blues 45 goals in the Championship this season.
This leaves Blues with first team forwards, Nikola Zigic, Peter Lovenkrands and loanee Wes Thomas. Lovenkrands and Zigic have 10 league goals between them and Thomas is still to find the back of the net. Thankfully for Blues, Lovenkrands looks like he is back to full fitness and with more games under his belt could prove to be an asset. It would appear that this is the best it’s going to get for the clubs forward line, with the likelihood of there being no room financially for another loan player. I doubt there will be an option to recall Adam Rooney from Swindon, as Paul Caddis was part of that agreement and it’s very unlikely that Clark would want to lose the impressive Scottish full back.
The situation may open a door for Nathan Redmond and Ravel Morrison again, but neither player had really set the world alight by previously playing in the more advanced role. Luckily in midfield Blues have Chris Burke and Wade Elliott, who are both capable of finding the net, with Burke seemingly capturing similar goalscoring form to last season in recent weeks, and Blues are going to need the Scotsman to continue that form more than ever, now.
Blues do however; have a handful of youngsters to call upon if needed. Reece Hales (18) has already made his debut, after coming on as a substitute against Leeds in the FA Cup. Blues also have the services of Marcel Henry Francis (20) and Clark will hopefully have Akwasi Asante (20) back to full fitness in the coming weeks too. Asante was on the fringes of the first team prior to injury, so it would not be surprising to see the Dutch born Ghanaian feature before the end of the season.
Unfortunately for most Blues fans, I don’t think we’ll see Marlon King play for Blues again. Despite his age, he is still an excellent centre forward at this level and I would suggest there will be many clubs in the running for him come the summer and I don’t see him staying under the current circumstances. King can be frustrating on occasion, especially when continuously caught offside, but one thing cannot be denied and that’s the fact he’s a goalscorer and he’s been Blues best goalscorer for two seasons running. He’ll miss Blues last 11 games, but such has been his importance to the club, that I still think he’ll finish top of Blues goalscoring charts.