“We’re just a 20-goal a season man away from walking this league,” is a common refrain of Championship fans throughout the country. Over the last few years there have been some great strikers in this division. Ebanks-Blake at Wolves (07/08 & 08/09), Jason Scotland at Swansea (08/09), Kevin Phillips (07/08), Michael Copra (06/07) and Marlon King (05/06) are just a recent few. But the 20-goal a season man remains an unobtainable fantasy at most clubs, and Leicester fans should be aware of some very important facts.
20-goal a season strikers are extremely rare and Leicester haven’t fielded one in the top two divisions since Gary Lineker. In the last five Championship seasons just 13 players have scored more than 20 league goals in a single campaign. Only three of them played for promoted teams.
Indeed, having a 20-goal man on your books isn’t a prerequisite for promotion at all. Of the 15 sides to be elevated to the top flight in the last five years only three of them possessed strikers who had netted 20 league goals in the campaign. Last season holds a perfect case in point. West Brom’s Graham Dorrans and Chris Brunt top scored for Albion with 13 league goals each.
As the weekend evidenced, Leicester are clearly still wasting too many scoring opportunities. They have made more attempts on goal and hit the target more often than any other Championship side, but their return of 23 goals makes them only the leagues’s 13th most prolific scorers.
That said, City’s current crop, and indeed any who might join them, should not be burdened with the pressure of being the 20-goal a season man. The Foxes had 13 different goalscorers in the league last year and it will take the same sort of team effort to make the side climb the table this year too.
The signs are encouraging. Saturday was only the second time in 11 league games that the Foxes had failed to find the net. And, believe it or not, City’s chance conversion rate is improving. After the QPR match Leicester had scored with just 5.4% of their attempts on goal. That rate has now improved to 9.35%. It’s still not great, only Millwall, Middlesbrough and Hull have been more wasteful than City, but it is getting better. Honest.