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Mixed start for Hull after star names retained - Interview
Friday, 18th Oct 2019 11:10 by Clive Whittingham

Hull City managed to hold onto star men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki through the summer transfer window but have made a mixed start to the league season amidst ongoing off-field politics. Charlotte from Tigerlink filled us in...

Nigel Adkins seemed to do well in tricky circumstances last year but wasn’t retained at the end of it, what did you make of the season and his departure?

Most fans would agree that Adkins over-performed last season and we would have liked him to stay. With limited resources he got the best out of the squad and managed to pull everyone together in challenging circumstances. Nigel met our owners on a number of occasions during the summer but it was no surprise when he departed and we may never know the exact reasons why talks broke down. But with the Allams constantly squeezing money out of the club, many believe the much reduced budget was the sticking point.

How was the arrival of Grant McCann from Doncaster greeted during the summer and how has he done so far?

The choice of Grant McCann was welcomed by many fans. It was probably not the high profile manager we would have ideally wanted but after the club failed to persuade Adkins to stay, it was about as good as we could have hoped for given the financial constraints imposed by the owners. McCann arrived with a reputation for playing attacking football and there have been some encouraging signs in this respect over the first few games.

What did you make of the summer transfer business? Guess it was all about keeping the two wingers, which you did…

The summer business had a real bargain basement feel about it. We have sunk a long way in a short time in terms of the availability of funds for players. So as you say, the retention of both Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki was a massive boost after such a low key summer. The arrival of George Honeyman and Tom Eaves late in the summer gave us more encouragement but both are still to prove that they are up to playing at Championship level having made their mark in League One at Sunderland and Gillingham respectively.

Ins: Matt Ingram, 25, GK, QPR, £400k >>> George Honeyman, 24, AM, Sunderland, £396k >>> Callum Elder, 24, LB, Leicester, Undisclosed >>> Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, CM, Wigan, Undisclosed >>> Ryan Tafazolli, 27, CB, Peterborough, Free >>> Tom Eaves, 27, CF, Gillingham, Free >>> Josh Magennis 28, CF/GK, Bolton, Free >>> Josh Bowler, 20, RW, Everton, Loan >>> Matthew Pennington, 24, CB, Everton, Loan

Outs: Evandro, 32, AM, Santos (Brazil), Free >>> Callum Burton, 22, GK, Cambridge, Free >>> David Marshall 34, GK, Wigan, Free >>> Liam Ridgwell, 35, CB, Southend, Free >>> Will Keane, 26, Alleged CF, Ipswich, Free >>> James Weir, 23, LM, Bolton, Free >>> Ondrej Mazuch, 30, CB, Released >>> Fraizer Campbel, CF, Huddersfield, Free >>> Max Sheaf, 19, CM, Cheltenham, Loan >>> Nouha Dicko, 27, CF, Vitesse, Loan >>> Sean McLaughlin, 22, CB, St Mirren, Loan

How have you started the season?

So far it has been a real mixed bag. McCann has tried a number of formations and already rejigged the defence on several occasions, partly due to injuries. Wins at Luton and a narrow victory at home to Sheffield Wednesday suggested we were making progress in the right direction but the 0-3 defeat at Huddersfield just prior to the international break was a disappointing one for manager and fans alike. Whilst more positive in terms of attacking, our defensive shape has suffered and we always look likely to concede.

Best players and weak links in the side?

Whilst Bowen and Grosicki are well established in the Championship and always a threat, midfielder Kevin Stewart has been our best player so far this season. There is a good team ethic and players seem motivated and are working hard which can compensate for our defensive frailties. Grant McCann has replicated Nigel Adkins in introducing young players into the team. Some like Dan Batty and Brandon Fleming have potential but like some of the summer purchases, may need time to establish themselves at Championship level. In terms of weak links, neither Eaves nor Josh Magennis have fully convinced as our main strikers. We are a side in transition so inconsistency may be a familiar pattern this season.

League starts made by former QPR pair Matt Ingram and Josh Bowler so far - 0

I read with interest Allam’s recent in depther with the Hull Daily Mail which was sort of half conciliatory and half spikey, what did you make of that? Will it change opinion?

The article you refer to is one of Ehab Allam's occasional gestures to the local media. It contained nothing new and shows no sign of genuine contrition. However, the club itself has shown some significant moves forward in the last month with cut price tickets, free stadium tours and a training open day setting a new and more optimistic tone. Fans have clamoured for initiatives such as these for several years so we must hope that the vindictive policies of the Allam family are drawing to a close or this is an indication that they are soon to depart. We are told there are prospective buyers on the scene again but this is a story we have heard on numerous occasions since the club was put up for sale. For many fans this all comes far too late. Some continue to boycott, some may only return when the Allams leave and some may never return.

League games so far…
Swansea 2-1 Hull (Baston 47, Van Der Horn 49 – Batty 3)
Hull 2-1 Reading (Bowen 6, Irvine 16 – Joao 66)
Brentford 1-1 Hull (Watkins 72 – Bowen 53)
Hull 0-1 Blackburn (Williams 62)
Hull 1-3 Bristol City (Bowen 44 – Afobe 40, 80, Burke og 78)
Millwall 1-1 Hull (Wallace pen 10 – Grosicki 17)
Hull 2-2 Wigan (Bowen 10, Grosicki 20 – Dunckley 8, Gelhardt 75)
Luton 0-3 Hull (Stewart 63, 90, Grosicki 87)
Hull 2-2 Cardiff (Grosicki 44, De Wijs 89 – Glatzel 55, Ward 90)
Hull 1-0 Sheff Wed (Eaves 72)
Huddersfield 3-0 Hull (Grant 68, Bacuna 74, Kachunga 82)

He says you’ve got a top six squad, is that realistic this season for you?

No. When our owners arrived they told us they didn't know a lot about football. This hasn't changed. The squad lacks depth and quality. We may struggle to hold on to key players in January and to finish the season half way up the table would be a huge achievement for McCann and the team.

Links >>> Official Website >>> Hull Daily Mail – Local Paper >>> Tigerlink – Blog >>> Amber Nectar – Blog and Forum >>> Not606 – Forum >>> Ground Guide

The Twitter @HCAFCTigerlink, @loftforwords

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