Sheffield Wednesday’s much-vaunted array of strikers could hardly be said to have fired on all cylinders last season. But they still scored nearly 73% of the team’s league goals.
That is an impressively high proportion and therein lies a shortfall Jos Luhukay will be aiming to address this summer.
Wednesday managed just 59 goals in 46 Championship matches. That in itself is moderate-to-poor. Teams who qualified for the play-offs amassed between 67 and 79 across the 46 matches.
While the temptation for outsiders will have been to look across the big names in the Owls front line and point the finger there, it is an entirely false conclusion.
Considering ponderous approach play rationed chances almost throughout the season, the forwards as a collective were almost entirely blameless for the team falling well short of expectations.
Between them they tallied 43 league goals. In a promotion season that might have been regarded as a modicum. But by the standards of Wednesday’s 15th place, it is well above par for the course.
None, with the exception of the revelatory Atdhe Nuhiu (top scorer with 11 - 14 in all competitions), had a personally satisfying season. Gary Hooper’s haul of 10 was highly creditable, coming from just 24 appearances, but still left a feeling of what might have been after he was restricted by injury to half a season.
Lucas Joao was fitful, finishing with nine, while Jordan Rhodes would have been dismayed to register only five.
That leaves Fernando Forestieri, who fizzed to five in his end-of-term comeback, Steven Fletcher (two) after being a long-term absentee, and Sam Winnall (loaned to Derby) with the other Championship goal.
But the combined total from their positions was well above respectable. It left fingers pointing elsewhere. To midfield, where just 14 goals were contributed by seven players (led by Adam Reach with what he would regard as a modest four). And to the back line, from which a measly two were injected (one each by Tom Lees and Frederico Venancio).
As this column has previously asserted, it’s a fair bet given reasonable luck on the injury front that the strikers can equal or surpass last season’s output. You wouldn’t think there’s a crying need to strengthen that department and, in Joao, maybe there’s a big talent ready to explode.
The priority will be to pep up the penetration in midfield, from which Kieran Lee was sorely missed for much of the time. He still managed three goals. Next season needs to be a chip in time from everywhere.