What did you get right and wrong in your August-September progress report? At the beginning of the season I said that Hull City had strength in depth, something that came in handy in recent weeks. I also mentioned that Hull’s form would improve but it hasn’t, they have 11 points from 11 games, in my last report they had six from six. The side hasn’t benefited as much from the new signings as many would’ve thought, with a lot of the new boys have picking up injuries and struggling to nail down a place in the starting XI.
Best Starting XI:
Best Performer: Mohamed Diame. The midfielder has been very impressive for the Tigers since his move from West Ham United. He’s scored four league goals in eight games for his new side and has been probably their best summer signing. Uruguayan striker Abel Hernandez deserves an honourable mention for the impact he’s made. The 24-year-old scored a cracker in his debut against West Ham and looks like he’s improving game by game.
Most Improved Player: Robbie Brady. The winger gets this one for me. He has capitalised big time on Robert Snodgrass’ injury and has played so well that fellow winger Tom Ince has been sent out on loan to pick up some first team experience. It looked like Brady’s season would be spent on the bench, but he’s proved to his manager he can do a job for the team. I’ve been very impressed with the attitude of the 22-year-old, after manager Steve Bruce, and ex-Irish manager Giovanni Trappatoni both questioned his “mentality”, but he has shown everyone his character with his courageous return
Injury News: Michael Dawson is still out with an ankle injury while the manager’s son, Alex Bruce, has a hamstring injury. Robert Snodgrass is continuing his rehabilitation but is doubtful for the rest of the season, star man Nikica Jelavic is also on a hefty injury list. Both goalkeepers, Steve Harper and Allan McGregor sat out last week’s game but are expected to be available following the international break.
Positions that need to be filled in transfer window: Nowhere. Bruce looks to have a squad capable of having a successful year, despite a slightly disappointing start to the season. He has two good goalkeepers, a fantastic array of defensive options and the quality he has in the final third of the pitch speaks for itself, players like Jelavic, Abel Hernandez and Gaston Ramirez are at Bruce’s disposal.
Managerial progress: C+. Bruce is doing a decent job at Hull, nothing more nothing less. He’s at a club different to most, a club where you don’t get sacked as rashly and as stupidly as some around them. He is taking full advantage of this and has credible track record so far. He’s a top manager and comes across as a top guy too, so let’s hope he can provide the City fans with the progression they crave.
Weaknesses: Players taking too long to settle and injuries have been a problem so far. When they signed Shane Long and Jelavic last January, they made an immediate impact, something I’m sure Bruce would have killed for with his signings this time round. Injuries are a surprising one, considering the size and quality of their squad, but losing both your goalkeepers is a tough blow to take. Also losing your main striker for a few weeks is bound to make a difference in the team’s performances.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 3. A lacklustre beginning doesn’t rule out a good season. Expect Hull to bounce back now that everybody has had time to settle in their new surroundings.
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