No. 3: New signings, relegation predictions and Hull's chances at the Etihad Stadium
By Rebecca Halliwell
Ahead of Saturday's second home game of the season against newly promoted Hull City, we spoke with Tigers fan Andy Dalton (@Amber__Nectar) as they hope to produce yet another shock against Manchester City.
This is Hull’s first season in the Premier League for three years. What are your hopes for Hull during this season?
Andy: Simply reciting “survival” feels a bit too utilitarian. We’ve been here before, and it’s nice and all that, but so’s the Championship, with the added bonus of every game being winnable and the tickets not requiring the sale of a kidney to fund. So let’s instead aspire for some entertaining football (which to be fair is what Steve Bruce has extensively provided) and maybe a bloody nose for someone annoying like Liverpool.
|Photo: Official Hull City Facebook|
Who do you feel are your key signings this summer?
Andy: Tom Huddlestone. He’s not just Premier League quality, he’s on the verge of being international quality, and those aren’t the sort of players who tend to sign for newly promoted teams. If he stays fit and plays as we know he can, we’ll stay up with a bit to spare.
Are there any areas you feel you need to strengthen between now and the end of the transfer window?
Andy: More goals would be nice. For all of the beautiful football City played last season, there was a chronic lack of goals – even relegated Peterborough scored more. A tight defence saw us through, as did an improbably good record on the road, but we can’t exactly rely on that happening again, so anyone who can add even 6-8 goals would be very welcome.
Which Hull player do you feel the league needs to watch out for the most?
Andy: Sone Aluko. He was pinched on a free transfer from Rangers last summer, and he’s a star. He’s got loads of ability and loads of pace, and is the sort of player that even the best defenders in the world need to pay very close attention to.
Do you think Hull are in a stronger position for a sustained run in the Premier League than the two previous Premier League campaigns?
Andy: Just about. Steve Bruce is a canny manager and clearly inspires his players; when the going gets tough – and it will – he’ll keep his head even if everyone loses theirs. I think we have a slightly better team overall than 2008-2010, though the lack of goals is going to trouble us all season.
How confident do you feel about getting a result from the Etihad this Saturday following Cardiff City’s success last Sunday?
Andy: Not very. After all, how many Hull City players would get into our hosts’ team, or even squad? Exactly, a figure not too far away from zero. Nothing’s impossible of course, but if Man City turn up, Hull City lose. That’s how the Premier League works.
Predicted Hull line-up?
Andy: Tricky, as Steve Bruce is much more prone to swapping formations than is commonly recognised. 4-4-1-1 is my stab in the dark:
McGregor; Elmohamady, Davies, Chester, Figueroa; Koren, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady; Aluko; Graham.
Which Manchester City player do you feel could do the most damage and why?
Andy: All of them, though I’m confident that we’ll keep Joe Hart quiet. That Aguero lad is alright isn’t he?
|Photo: Official MCFC Facebook|
Who are your predictions for the title and relegation spots?
Andy: Man Utd for the title, I fear – nothing much against them, but I think they’d have enough titles for now. Relegation: Newcastle, Stoke, Crystal Palace. I hope.