Lee Clark says opportunity may well knock with Marlon King ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Blues’ 14-goal leading scorer has had surgery on a nagging knee complaint.

It leaves Clark with Nikola Zigic, Peter Lovenkrands and Wes Thomas as his three recognised senior strikers.

But Akwasi Asante is back in full training again after a long-term hamstring injury.

And Clark says: “Of course it is a massive blow not having Marlon. You lose goals, his leadership in the dressing room, etc, but it’s a chance for somebody else now.

“We’ve got three strikers and it’s up to those three now to get us the goals and play themselves into the team.

“It’s been like this most of the season when we’ve had these issues. People have come in and taken their chances.

“There might be a young striker who comes to the fore in the next couple of weeks.

“Young Akwasi is starting to get fit. Young Reece Hales always impresses me when I watch him in the youth team and the development squad.

“So who’s to say in the next few weeks they don’t get the chance? It’s a good opportunity for them so we’ll have a look. And young Koby Arthur can play up there, too.”

When Blues were bereft of forwards in the New Year period, Clark paired Nathan Redmond up front with Ravel Morrison and Robert Hall, who is back at parent club West Ham due to a groin injury.

Asante damaged his hamstring in October and has had a couple of setbacks along the way.

Clark said: “He’s been doing well but the sports scientists felt he was not right to play in Monday’s development game because he’s only had a week’s training.”