Before our match with Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night, we’ve asked the Vital Wednesday editor nick his views on the season so far and the up-coming game.
1. What has your start to the season been like – is it what you expected?
A lot of fans expected us to be a little higher up this season, but with the current injury crisis (which is now slowly nearing its end, fingers crossed!) I kind of expected us to be around where we are in the early stages. Our defence is one of the best in the league, our attack one of the worst so 0-0 wouldn’t be a bad bet on Friday! Saying that, we’ve only lost two – one to a very dubious penalty against Leeds, the other against Luton. And we’re unbeaten away – victory at Plymouth and draws at Southend and PNE.
2. What are your aims for this season, realistically?
Everybody seems to be aiming for mid-table. We have a structure in place which we achieved last season by staying up. This season is mid-table, and the next a push for the play-offs. I can’t speak for the relegated teams but in this division anyone can take points off anyone, and if we had a fully fit squad I’d be confident of a top-half finish. Mid-table may be boring, bur I suppose it would be a success this season.
3. Are the fans still happy with Sturrock in charge of the club?
Apart from a few numpties – yes! I’d say 95% are more than happy with Sturrock. He’s the best manager we’ve had in years and his took us forward each season he’s been in charge – reaching each of his personal targets. His signings are questionable, some he buys and sells within six months and some are excellent signings. His contracts up next summer so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’m desperate for him to extend it though and take us forward – we need stability.
4. Weren’t there rumors of a takeover of your club – are there any updates on that?
Yes, two. Mandaric first off, but that seems to have gone quiet. Three clubs were mentioned – Leicester, who he’s now ruled out, Coventry and ourselves. Don’t know much else apart from that I’m not that sure he’d be a wise move, but then again most fans agree anyone would be better than the current man at the helm. Secondly, and probably much more realistic, Dennis Hobson and his consortium. He’s a boxing promoter for Ricky Hatton, Clinton Woods and is a massive Wednesday fan. I think this could be the one. The fact they are Wednesday fans is encouraging in itself as they sound desperate to get us back in the Prem!
5. Who have you signed in the Summer, and has anyone important left?
Nobody of note has left, although a few were upset at JP McGovern leaving.
The best signing so far looks to be Madjid Bougherra. Looks to be the best defender we’ve had at the club in years and could be the one most profitable player we’ve had in years! It’s early days yet, and he is young, but he looks fantastic alongside Coughlan at the back. Brad Jones on loan from Middlesbrough is another, decent shot stopper but dodgy on crosses – a decent stop-gap until we get someone in proper. Kenny Lunt from Crewe looks promising but hasn’t been given a chance yet, may feature against you with our injuries. Wade Small from MK Dons also got the injury bug and hasn’t started yet. Yoann Folly was immense in the early games after we signed him from Southampton, but hey – he’s injured too! We also have Lloyd Sam on loan from Charlton – really fast but yet to show us anything of Premiership class.
6. Who should the City defence be wary of Friday night?
Ha! We’ve only scored four all season and two have been from open play. We had NO striker fit at one point, funnily enough the match we won 2-1! Tudgay and Burton are still getting back to full fitness and are a bit rusty at the moment. Chris Brunt will probably be the biggest thread, lazy but he has an awesome left-foot!
7. Are there any weak links in the team?
Goals. We can’t seem to score them. Although as I said previously, Tudgay and Burton are returning to full fitness. Our defense is sound but Jones is still a bit dodgy on crosses in the goal, one of those guys who always wants to punch rather than catch! Chris Brunt can win a game for us, but is rubbish defensively and lazy, if you get at him enough you’ll have some free runs on goal!
8. If you could take one Hull City player to Hillsbrough, who would it be?
Erm, I’d have said Elliott a few seasons ago but not heard much of him since then. I’d probably take any one of your strikers, maybe Bridges!
9. And to send a Sheffield Wednesday player to us?
I’m tempted to say Chris Brunt. He’s so lazy but has loads of quality packed into the left foot of his! Barry Corr is pretty useless.
10. What do you think the score will be?
We need to get a win on Friday or a lot of fans will be wondering where our first win is coming from. That said, our away form is pretty good and at this stage of the season I’ve got to be optimistic! I’ll go for 1-0 to Wednesday!
Here at Vital Hull, we would like to thank Nick for his contribution to our regular feature. To read my responses, check the Vital Wednesday site during the day.