Under the management of Steve Bruce, Hull City have been one of the Championship’s form sides this season. Andy Dalton from Amber Nectar tells us what to expect from the home side…
What’s gone right this season compared to last season?
Nothing went especially wrong last season – City were tight defensively and played an attractive brand of passing football, but were all too often lacking in a cutting edge and a lack of goals was (and to some degree still is) a chronic problem. This time about there’s more of a ruthless side to the Tigers. The squad is better, deeper and there’s more flexibility with both tactics and style. It’s allowed City to win all sorts of different games that last season we’d have drawn.
What’s the opinion on Steve Bruce so far?
Very pleasantly surprised. His appointment was a little underwhelming, particularly as it was at the expense of local hero Nick Barmby. I thought we’d probably finish somewhere between fifth and eighth, playing functional football and it’d all be a bit unexciting. However, he’s got the side playing fast, fluent attacking stuff and his media appearances radiate assurance. He looks as though he’s enjoying being a football manager once again after his chastening final few months at Sunderland, and that evident happiness has spread to both his team and the supporters.
Have there been many changes since he arrived?
Quite a few, invariably for the best. With the assistance of the owners he’s been allowed to consistently spend, and has amassed a very strong squad. Last season, March killed our chances of promotion; this year the sheer depth of the squad has kept City in the hunt when others (hello Leicester) have begun to stumble.
What can we expect tactically?
City line up with three centre-backs and wingbacks, with the rest of the outfield generally allowed to please themselves. A season-ending injury to our star player Sone Aluko forced a mid-season change of plan, with 3-5-1-1 favoured for a time. We’re back to 3-5-2, a formation that beautifully suits the personnel.
Who are the key players to watch out for?
For goodness sake, don’t give Ahmed Elmohamady any room on the right, and hope that your left-back has a good afternoon. He rains crosses in throughout the game and even the very best defence can’t keep them all out.
What’s going to happen on Saturday?
In 2007/8, City had a late run to the play-offs and eventually won them, having spent most of the season not really looking like featuring in the top six. In late February 2008 we’d just broken into the play-off places and went to West Brom, challenging for (and eventually achieving) automatic promotion. We won 2-1, a stellar result that made everyone believe that we really could do it. That result has entered Tiger folklore for its huge, galvanising importance upon that seminal season. It changed everything for us. Every season, we wonder which might be our ‘West Brom moment’.
All week I’ve had a funny feeling Nottingham Forest may have a ‘West Brom moment’ of their own on Saturday.
You can follow Amber Nectar on Twitter: @Amber__Nectar
The latest football betting news sees Hull favourites to win at 2.2 with William Hill. Forest are 3.7 with Sporting Bet while the draw is 3.4 with Bet365.
The Bet365 latest football odds has Gedo as favourite to score first at 6 while George Boyd must be worth a flutter at 7. Billy Sharp is 7.5 and Simon Cox is 8 to be first goalscorer.
Goals are to be expected with 0-0 at 10 although Forest winning 2-0 is as high as 19.
Image: Paul Glazzard (CC-BY-SA-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons