Can the Tigers defy the odds?
Hull City are joint favourites for relegation alongside the other newly-promoted teams Crystal Palace and Cardiff City, but are they capable of springing a surprise at the top level?
August 1st, 2013
Manager Steve Bruce does have plenty of experience in the Premier League with Birmingham, Wigan and Sunderland, and will be aware of the quality that is required to survive. He has been active in the close season in bringing in eight new signings, including two goalkeepers, and continues to scour the market for more.
The manager has taken something of a risk in signing strikers Yannick Sagbo from Evian and Danny Graham on loan from Sunderland. Both players have hardly been prolific recently. Last season Sagbo scored only six goals, and Graham seven goals for Swansea and none at Sunderland.
The aborted attempt to sign Charlie Austin from Burnley demonstrates that there is still the need for a top striker who can guarantee 15 goals plus and give the club the impetus to survive. Bruce will know that such a striker does not come cheap, but that it could be the difference between another season with the big boys or a speedy return to the Championship.
Experienced Premier League defenders Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies should add some steel to the backline and Bruce does have some talented youngsters at his disposal in Sone Aluko, Robbie Brady and James Chester who could be the stars of the future.
George Boyd provides some creativity in midfield having been signed permanently from Peterborough and is capable of scoring spectacular goals.
Last season’s Player of the Year Ahmed Elmohamady has also signed on a permanent deal, and could have a big say in Hull’s survival chances.
The club have been linked with numerous new additions before the big kick-off against Chelsea on Sunday 18th August, and the names have included former Bruce players, Wilson Palacios and Hugo Rodallega.
The Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is the most likely new recruit to the KC Stadium. The tough-tackling midfielder is apparently no longer wanted by Paolo Di Canio and would be a significant addition to the squad, if he can overcome his appalling disciplinary record.
The opening away fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester City will be very difficult, so they will need to get some points on the board in their first home game against Norwich City on August 24th.
The manager is building a side which can compete in the Premier League and the fans have grounds for optimism that the Tigers can defy the bookmakers’ odds, but anything above the bottom three is surely the realistic target for this season.
(Photo of KC Stadium courtesy of Yorkshire Forward)