Birmingham City have already demonstrated their attacking intent and their abundance of striking talent is the envy of the Championship.
However, manager Alex McLeish has revealed the players who he believes are the key to Blues’ scoring goals this season - his full backs!
Blues have shown a reluctance to pump the ball long and it has been noticeable that goalkeeper Maik Taylor has delivered the ball down field more with his hands than his feet during the opening two games of the season.
Instead, left back David Murphy and currently Stuart Parnaby on the right flank have become important play-makers, and it all fits into McLeish’s footballing philosophy.
“The full back position is a very important area of the team,” McLeish said.
“They have to be able to defend and get forward because most teams’ attacks start at the full back position so their use of the ball dictates a lot of the moves and how you are going to progress during the game.
“I am not saying everything goes through the full backs but I have been pleased with Parnaby’s contribution over the past two games. We have two top level contenders there in Parnaby and Stephen Kelly.
“Murphy on the other side is renowned for getting forward and I know what he can do for us down the left.”
Parnaby has certainly been in impressive form this season, which has been vital to keep Kelly out of the team. The former Middlesbrough defender played a bit part last season and appeared in various positions because of Kelly’s consistency at right back.
The Republic of Ireland international played every second of every game during the last campaign while Parnaby waited patiently for his opportunity, but Kelly picked up an injury during pre-season and Parnaby has taken full advantage, to McLeish’s obvious delight.
“Parnaby was unlucky last season because Kelly was such a consistent performer,” he said.
“He was very steady and it was hard to justify leaving him out. I think it was a good battle between the two of them and I knew that if Kelly had an injury or lost some form we had a ready-made replacement.
“He has very good experience. He has played in the Premier League with Middlesbrough and he is still only 26. He is a good athlete and we see that in training. In the sprint exercises he can hold his own.”
While there is a fierce battle for the right back berth, the competition isn’t so strong at left back.
Murphy is comfortably holding down the position with only former Middlesbrough and Fulham defender Franck Queudrue as back up, but the Frenchman has been told he can leave the club and his fitness has come into question.
“I would like to get Franck to the levels he was at Middlesbrough,” McLeish said.
“He will be an excellent contender in that position as well. He is already looking more match fit and we will keep working on him in training.
“For a while it looked like Franck was leaving us but nothing has happened yet and it is my duty to get the very best out of the players at my disposal. I would say to Franck not to ignore that fact.
“I know that sometimes when you say to a player ‘I need you to do this and that’ they think you are punishing them but Franck knows I am trying to help him in his career and he is a willing participant.”