Ahead of the Tigers first home game of the season, i put some questions to the Barnsley Vital Editor to get the Tykes view of the forthcoming season.
1) – You came up via the play offs after finishing 5th, do you think being one of the favourites for relegation is a true reflection of your teams ability?
As you’ll know all the teams that came up last time stayed up. I think that the team spirit will be there still from the victory in Cardiff and the squad is pretty much the same. Hopefully momentum should carry us through some of the early games and we can consolidate. Some people have us a eighth favourites to go down – which is fair enough by me.
2) – You lost Scot Flinders to Palace but have brought in Michael McIndoe, do you feel you need to strengthen the squad further and if so, which areas?
We always knew Flinders was going really, it was just a question of how much we’d get. It could turn out to be a million and Flinders could become one of England’s best. It’s a shame he had to go but it was what was best for the player and the club. McIndoe and Togwell should turn out to be good signings but I do think we need a couple more. Letheren and Coulson aren’t ready for the first team yet and we need a second keeper and an experienced goalscorer.
3) – Realisticaly what are the fans aiming for this season?
I’ve never really known fans to be realistic but most of them say they’re hoping to finish just outside relegation. I’m not sure they’ll be that chuffed enduring the losses and draws that will inevitably come but I think 18th is probably realistic.
<4) - Andy Ritchie has done a good job at Oakwell, do you think he will be under any pressure from the fans or the board should you fail to perform?
Ritchie is the best manager we have had in years at the club. Some fans do get on his back but they’re the sort of fans who’ll never be happy. He has already achieved promotion ahead of schedule (the club had a two-year-plan) and I think the board will support his efforts.
5) – Which team are you most looking forward to playing against this season?
Personally it would be Leeds, they’re local rivals and a much bigger club than Sheffield Wednesday. I think they’ll present more of a challenge and will have a good season.
6) – If you could have any player from the current Hull City squad who would it be?
Boaz Myhill, we need a goalkeeper.
7) – Who do you think we need to watch out for at the K.C?
Michael McIndoe has played well in pre-season and could be a threat from the wing. He scored in our friendlies against Middlesbrough and Wigan and hopefully he’ll do the same a few times next season.
8) – And who is your weakest link?
I’m not always confident in Antony Kay’s performances as a defender. I’ll probably get slated for saying that though. I think our strikeforce in general can be a bit weak and misses that cutting edge.
9) – Do you have a score prediction for the game?
1-0 to Barnsley.
10) – Finally, if you dont get promotion this season, who do you think will be going up next May?
I don’t think we will be getting promotion really. In no particular order I think it will be Birmingham, Palace and Coventry. Although it’s a tough league and anything can happen.