We haven't had a good strike force since 2014. Garner/Beckford partnership last one we had. Enough said. Hugill was ok. Robinson good cutting in from wide areas but out and out strikers 6 years without one is too long.
It's easily the worst in the top half when you study the options and compare them to other clubs in and around the play offs (no point comparing to likes of Fulham and Brentford as those options are on a different planet).
Looking at a few teams in bottom half and they have strikers who'd massively improve the forward line. Lucas Jutkewicz at Birmingham is a very underrated targetman, Che Adams got all the credit last season but he had half his goals laid onto him, no goals in premier league so far.
Jutkewicz played in North west before for Burnley so perhaps he's a more realistic target given Birmingham don't have much money.
As for the options:
Barky- He's done really well. Let's not forget he was signed from a bottom half league 2 team in Morecambe so deserves so much credit for establishing himself as a regular starter in top half championship team. Always been a streaky scorer, two period this season where he's scored 4 in 4 and no goals in the 12 games inbetween. Still one off double figures in the league. Obvious keep really.
Bodin- Older than Barky would you believe. 28 years old. Didn't do much in his career up to 25 before that purple scoring patch at Bristol Rovers from start of 2017. Just the three championship goals since joining in Jan 2018 although of course he missed a year through injury. Would look to move him on, I'm sure they'd be interest from league 1 although might have to loan him out like Eion Doyle and Stevie May first.
Louis Moult- Pretty similar to Bodin. Same age and similar career trajectory. Was playing in non league until 23 after Stoke released him but Motherwell gave him confidence to score. 7 championship goals since joining in Jan 2018. Also lost a year to injury. Personally I'd keep him as targetman back up and loan Stockley for a bit to league 1/2.
Nugent- Everyone loves Nuge of course but deep down it was a failed romance coming back. Many couldn't resist but it shouldn't have happened. Hemmings giving him two years was ridiculous. An obvious release if just on a 12 month deal. One goal all season.
Scott Sinclair- Seemed to be hailed as the promotion saviour in waiting when he joined. Having watched him at another club I simply couldn't see him having the mentality to drive a club to promotion. Was a key player when Swansea went up but that was 9 years ago. Since then he's made endless money warming the bench at Man. City for three years and then playing at Villa in one of the worst top flight teams. Done well at Celtic but we know SPL is not high standard. Just have to hope he can start becoming more influential next season.
Jayden Stockley- Would loan him out next season. Needs to be a regular starter somewhere and it won't be happening here. Not one to give up on yet as he's shown in flashes here he can be dangerous player in certain games. Showed in past he has no problem scoring in league 2 and younger than likes of Bodin. 6 champions goals since joining.
Sean Maguire- The biggest enigma. Looked a great find when he turned up in August 2017 and was a breath of fresh air at start of that season, played out the AN tactics pressing from the front to a tee. Then the injuries happened. And then the injuries happened the next season. Simply not the same since. 10 championship goals in his first season, not bad considering he was injured from 1st November to 3rd March of that season. Output dramatically decreased since then. Just one goal scored since September this season. One I'd move on with regret. A big what if.
4-2-3-1 in theory allows for that front four to be quite fluid and players moving from 10 or out wide into the support striker role. But we don't have the personnel. We have width and cutting inside with pace with Sinclair and Barkhuizen, but in the middle we're not there.
None of our link up midfielders can play and move into that support (2nd striker) role through the middle (Harrop maybe, but not fully convinced... Johnson and Browne have both operated there and are great technical operators but are suited a bit deeper supplying chances rather than being asked to put them away all the time), and our main strikers centrally aren't good enough to finish what's handed to them.
I like the system, but it all falls apart front and centre. We need a mobile, pacey striker. They're not cheap so it all sits on Maguire's shoulders.