3 Birmingham City players with a point to prove in 2023/24 pre-season
There are plenty of players who need to impress John Eustace in their quest to secure a starting spot.
Birmingham City will be hoping to build on what was a promising first campaign under John Eustace.
Considering Blues finished in the bottom half, the word ‘promising’ is potentially perplexing, but there were some real highlights from the 2022/23 campaign and there was enough on display to suggest that the club could enjoy a reasonably successful 2023/24 season.
Who has already signed for Birmingham City?
Recruitment will be key to their success – because they need to replace their former loanees and those that have departed on the expiration of their contracts.
But existing first-teamers will also need to raise their game and prove to Eustace why they shouldn’t be dropped from the starting lineup following the additions of others, with the likes of Tyler Roberts, Krystian Bielik and Ethan Laird all arriving at St Andrew’s.
All three already have Championship experience under their belts, with Bielik spending last season on loan at the Midlands side – and the trio could all potentially start on the opening day if they can remain fit.
Which Birmingham City players have a point to prove during pre-season?
New signings will need to make their mark and justify why Blues have recruited them – but we have focused on three players who have been at the long a lot longer than Roberts and Laird and have a point to prove this pre-season.
You have to feel it’s now or never for centre-back Gordon, who needs to take advantage of the fact Dion Sanderson, Auston Trusty, Harlee Dean, Maxime Colin and George Friend have all left the club.
That has left Blues light in options in central defence, so Gordon should be looking to impress this pre-season to give himself the best chance of being involved regularly during the 2023/24 campaign.
If he can get his foot in the door during the early stages of the season and perform well, he could play regularly throughout next season and earn himself another contract.
The club triggered an extension on his contract this summer – but he may not be so lucky next year if he doesn’t become a valuable first-teamer.
Although James has done well to force his way into the first team already, with the midfielder only turning 19 earlier this month, he will want to secure as much game time as possible next season.
Not only will he want to do this so he can develop rapidly, but it may also increase his chances of being regularly involved in Wales’ senior team, so he will have no shortage of motivation to do well.
If he can perform well in pre-season, with fellow youngster Jobe Bellingham leaving the club, he could easily become a starter and retain his starting spot in the middle of the park.
Bellingham’s departure could boost his chances of playing regularly – but he will have to impress in pre-season if he wants to have any chance of being in the first 11 on the opening day.
Having previously been linked with the likes of Leicester City and Bologna, it’s time for him to show why he has attracted this interest.
Jeacock will want to stand out ahead of the likes of John Ruddy and Neil Etheridge this pre-season to give himself a chance of being involved.
Etheridge, with his reported £23,000-per-week wage, could potentially be offloaded this summer considering his high wage and the fact he attracted interest from other clubs including Huddersfield Town and Stoke City in January.
The Philippines international shouldn’t stay at the club on his current wage as a backup keeper – but it remains to be seen whether Blues offload him. If they can, Jeacock could become second-choice keeper but he will need to impress Eustace.
And there may even be a chance for him to succeed veteran John Ruddy as Birmingham’s first-choice stopper in the future. But again, he will need to impress the manager and he needs to start doing it this pre-season.