Promotion the Clear Goal. but Do Bluebirds Have the Strike Power to Make It to Top? the Jones Pass Peter; CARDIFF CITY NEWS & VIEWS

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), July 12, 2016 | Go to article overview

Promotion the Clear Goal. but Do Bluebirds Have the Strike Power to Make It to Top? the Jones Pass Peter; CARDIFF CITY NEWS & VIEWS


Byline: PHIL SMITH Football writer philip.smith@walesonline.co.uk

THE lack of a prolific goalscorer in recent years has often been thought to be one of the biggest barriers to Cardiff 's progress.

It hampered their Premier League season, when Jordan Mutch was top scorer with seven goals, and it has hampered their last two attempts to get back in the big time.

Surprisingly, however, the stats show that a 20-goal a season striker is far from essential when it comes to launching a promotion challenge.

In fact, only half of the last 10 teams to win the league have done so, while only four of the runners-up in that time have had such a marksman in their ranks.

Of course, one of those winners were the Bluebirds' themselves, when Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham and Heidur Helguson all scored eight goals apiece.

It's perhaps one of the reasons Cardiff fans can feel optimistic going into the new season.

Kenwyne Jones in 2014-15 was the only player to pass 10 league goals since Peter Whittingham in 2011-12, but Lex Immers' immediate impact last time out will have hopes high that he can comfortably pass that mark.

After all, he scored five in just 15 appearances last season. Frederic Gounongbe is still very much an unknown quantity to all of us, but he has been a consistent if not spectacular scorer over a fairly long period of time in Belgium and so between the two there's every chance they could do enough to keep the Bluebirds' in the race.

There's Kenneth Zohore, too. Two goals in twelve outings wasn't a particularly eye-catching return but with most of those coming from the bench and for such a young player settling in a new country and culture, there has to be every chance he can kick on further next year.

In particular, he showed some real promise alongside Immers when the pair almost combined to deliver a shock win away at Burnley. Had Zohore's clever chip dropped just a couple of inches lower, rather than hitting the bar, he could well have ignited the play-off charge.

The template for this could well be Middlesbrough's promotion success last season.

David Nugent top scored with eight goals for the 'Boro. Behind him was a supporting cast of Cristhian Stuani and Gaston Ramirez, both of whom scored seven, while winger Albert Adomah scored six.

Add the likes of Anthony Pilkington (should he stay) and Peter Whittingham, both capable of reaching those kinds of numbers, and it looks encouraging for Cardiff. …

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