Season Preview: Hull City
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on August 4, 2016
Season Preview: Hull City
The kick-off to the 2016/17 Premier League season is now only 9 days away. Hull City’s first game of the season is the first game of the new season to kick off, which is at 12:30 in the KCOM Stadium, against the champions Leicester City. The game will be televised live. The beginning of the new season will bring to an end what will go down as the worst ever pre-season for the club. Between the joyous and wonderful play-off final win against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley and now, Hull City have had a very eventful time. In this article I will be discussing what this series of events adds to the team and how the team is shaping up.
At the time of writing this, Hull City have signed one player for the upcoming season, this signing will not impact the first team. Under 21’s Goalkeeper Will Mannion has signed from Mansfield Town, reportedly City beat Stoke and Liverpool to the signing. Hull have since taken 33 year old winger Peter Odemwingie, formerly of Stoke City and West Brom. However, the Nigerian failed to impress in training and friendlies and will not be signed for the first team. Since the Championship play-off final victory Hull City have released two first team players. Full back Ryan Taylor has been released after 12 months at the club, he was signed shortly after the club being relegated from the Premier League. He was signed for free after being release by Newcastle. Ryan Taylor proved to be a pointless signing and has since went on trial at Wigan Athletic. Nigerian forward Sone Aluko has also been released. After being signed from Rangers in 2012, he went on to have a fantastic season in the Championship scoring 8 goals in 23 appearances. He never lived up to that form after his injury and only ever scored 2 goals in his 2 Premier League seasons at the KC. As well as another 25 Championship appearances, Aluko also featured in Hull City’s first ever FA Cup final in which they lost 3-2 to Arsenal, Aluko came off the bench in that game. Sone Aluko has since signed for Championship side Fulham. A major factor for Hull City avoiding relegation will be to keep a hold of key players. City have rejected a £7m bid from West Ham for Andrew Robertson, 2 bids of £4m and £5m from Middlesbrough for Harry Maguire and speculation continues to be around Abel Hernandez and Robert Snodgrass. However, Hull City have sold one of their star players in Mo Diamé to Newcastle United. The deal was done after Newcastle triggered the release clause in the midfielder’s contract, rumoured to be around £4.5m. Diame made 58 appearances for Hull over a Premier League and Championship season, scoring 14 goals, including the winner to the Championship play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday. Diame will be missed at Hull as he is by far one of City’s most talented players.
Hull City’s successful 2015/16 Championship campaign was due to the most highly rated player performing exceptionally well.
Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez will have to prove to be better than his debut Premier League season where he netted 4 times in 26 Premier League appearances. However Abel was not used to his full ability and was seen as an understudy to Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic, since Jelavic is no longer at the club Abel will be seen as Hull’s main outlet for goals. Abel was a major factor into Hull City’s promotion campaign in the following season, he scored 20 league goals, including the opener in the first leg of the play-off semi-final away to Derby County. This was his most successful season ever having scored a record amount of goals and gaining the highest average rating of 6.91 after 37 games in the Championship. Abel Hernandez will hope to prove the doubters and live up to his £10m Hull City record transfer fee from Palermo.
Scotland international Robert Snodgrass will also be vital in Hull City’s upcoming season, the Scot suffered a 16 month injury in his Premier League debut for City following a £8m transfer from relegated Norwich. Snodgrass was crucial in City’s promotion campaign, he scored 4 goals and made 7 assists, including the assist to the play-off final winner. He maintained an average rating of 7.34 in the 2015/16 season.
Another one of Hull’s star players going into the 2016/17 season is Scottish left-back Andrew Robertson. The former Dundee United defender has become a fan’s favourite at the KCOM Stadium over his 2 year stint at the club. He arrived at the club as a promising 20 year old defender from Dundee United and in his first season in the Premier League, although his inexperience was visible, he proved that he is a great talent. In the 2015/16 Championship campaign he worked extremely well with Sam Clucas down the left side of midfield and even managed to get 4 assists, he gained a record average rating of 6.98 in that year. Making sure that Andrew Robertson is still a Hull City player in September will be vital if Hull City were to avoid relegation in May.
Hull City’s under 21 squad is a very good asset to the squad. Youth players such as Joshua Tymon and Greg Olley have been training with the first team squad ahead of the new season in Portugal. 18 year old striker Jarrod Bowen is a player who has excited many as ‘one to watch’ and may be one to keep an eye on in the upcoming season. Bowen has been training with the first team in Portugal and has impressed in pre-season. Bowen has scored goals in the friendlies against Mansfield Town and Barnsley. Jarrod Bowen is likely to feature in the next season as Hull only have two strikers in Adama Diomande and Abel Hernandez.
Going into the play-off final against Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City knew that goalkeeper Allan McGregor and defender Alex Bruce would be sidelined. This at the time was a problem as Allan McGregor had just come off the back of an impressive season however back-up ‘keeper Eldin Jakupovic has been decent in cup games he has featured in. Alex Bruce had been in the squad to add depth so, although the injury was annoying as he is a loved player, the injury was not the end of the world. However, Hull City have now learned that Allan McGregor will be injured until January 2017, meaning he will miss a large portion of the season. Although McGregor has not always been consistent in the Premier League, he is the best goalkeeper at the club and can do well in the Premier League. Alex Bruce was confirmed to be out of the first team for around 6 months. In addition to this worrying list, after Hull City’s first friendly against Grimsby Town young full back Moses Odubajo damaged his ACL and will not feature until around January. This injury is especially devastating as Moses was crucial in Hull City’s promotion bid in the 2015/16 season. Also, Odubajo is a promising young English talent and an injury like this may ruin his progress as a player in the long run. The injury list then extended as it was confirmed after another friendly away to Mansfield Town that captain Michael Dawson is injured for 3 months. Michael Dawson is vital to the team and is by far one of City’s most important players. Young central defender Harry Maguire is also currently injured, however he is likely to only miss the opening game of the season at home to Leicester City. Finally, first team players Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone currently have injury problems, however both are due to be fit before the beginning of the new season.
On Friday the 22nd of July, Steve Bruce announced he has resigned as manager of Hull City. The club claims Steve Bruce and the club parted ways on ‘mutual consent’ however many sources claim that Bruce had been ‘bullied out’ of the club by the owners due to a lack of trust with money for bringing in reinforcements for the upcoming season.
At the time of writing this, current Wales manager Chris Coleman looks certain to be Hull City manager. Coleman has expressed interest in the vacant role and Hull have approached Coleman however the Welsh FA have cancelled this out. Although it appears that the Welsh FA have now let Hull City contact Chris Coleman. Coleman has proved in his time as Wales manager that he knows how to lift a dressing room and has achieved unimaginable success at the European 2016 Championship guiding Wales to the semi-final before being knocked out by the eventual winners Portugal. However Chris Coleman’s last job in England was in 2010 with Coventry City in the Championship and he has never managed in the Premier League. However, I think experienced assistant manager Mike Phelan will work well with Coleman. Due to this I think that Chris Coleman would be a good appointment.
Gianfranco Zola has also been mentioned and has been approached by Hull City. The Itallian is best known for his playing days at Chelsea. Gianfranco Zola has managed in England twice, with West Ham and Watford. In his time at the two clubs he was praised for integrating youth team players into the first team squad, a skill that may be crucial if Hull City were to have a good season due to the lack of fit first team players. A worry may be that Zola is an impatient manager, having resigned from Watford due to a struggling run of form. I think Zola has the potential to be a good manager if he were to remain patient with the squad he has.
Premier League Experience
When Hull City were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season many expected a mass exodus of proven Premier League players. Luckily, many of Hull City’s ‘big names’ stayed at the KCOM with the exception of Robbie Brady, James Chester and Nikica Jelavic. After the promotion, Hull maintained these players again with the exception of Mo Diame. So players who have performed well in the Premier League such as Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass are ready to go for another Premier League season.
Over Hull City’s 4 seasons in the Premier League, under Steve Bruce and Phil Brown respectively, Hull City have been relegated twice. The recorded high finish for a Premier League campaign is 16th place at the end of the 2013/14 season with the management of Steve Bruce.
As a Hull City fan I think that Hull will struggle greatly in the league, with a lack of players, a toxic atmosphere from the fans towards the owners and uncertainty about the upcoming takeover. Due to this I think that Hull may have to play in the championship again next season.
Predicted finish: 19th