Hull City Season Preview 2014/15
Prior to the start of last season I predicted that City would survive in the Premier League, but they exceeded my expectations by securing their safety with relative ease and then went on to reach the FA Cup final and qualify for the UEFA Europa League. In fact 2013/14 proved to be the most successful season in City’s 110-year history, but can they maintain the momentum this time around?
August 4th, 2014
Manager Steve Bruce has shown his determination to build on last year’s success by signing Jake Livermore (Tottenham Hotspur), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Andrew Robertson (Dundee United) and Harry Maguire (Sheffield United).
Livermore signed for an undisclosed club record fee after enjoying a successful loan spell last season, and Scottish midfielder Snodgrass for a reported £8m which demonstrates the club’s desire to consolidate themselves as a top flight team.
Ince has the ability to emulate his father Paul and become a regular at the top level, and the club have invested over £5m in the potential of defenders Andrew Robertson (20 years old) and Harry Maguire (21 years old).
City have released several players including Abdoulaye Faye, Matty Fryatt and Robert Koren but the squad looks much stronger than at the start of last season.
The prospects are promising but one major worry for City fans is that the notoriously long UEFA Europa League campaign could have a detrimental effect on their Premier League form.
City had to start in the qualifying stages of the Europa League in July and have to overcome Slovakian side AS Trencin and a play-off round before they even qualify for the group stages.
The Europa League commitments could see 10 additional fixtures before Christmas, and an extended stay in the competition could lead to City having to play around 60 games this season. Travelling long distances in mid-week and the threat of an extended injury list could stretch Bruce’s squad to the limit. Some at the club may quietly think that an early exit from the competition might be in their best interests. However, the fans will want to enjoy their European adventure and hope that City can go for glory.
Hull start the new Premier League campaign with a trip to newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers, and then face home matches with Stoke City, West Ham United and Manchester City before the end of September. A good start like last season would go a long way to consolidating their Premier League credentials.
The squad looks much stronger with the summer signings and the January additions Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic boosting City’s firepower. This would indicate that City should be capable of improving on last season’s Premier League finish of 16th.