With football currently halted for the foreseeable future, Hull City’s management and players need to take this time to figure out how they’re going to turn their season around. Relegation is a real possibility now for a side who haven’t won since New Year’s Day, but how have they got themselves in this mess, and what can they do to stop the rot?
A Miserable 2020 for The Tigers
Hull are priced at around 2.90 to go down this season, which is a generous price looking at their current form. If you fancy those odds, consider using a worldwide bookie such as bet365 or Bwin. Odds or other bet specifics might differ among bookmakers so it’s worth checking out a few options before making a choice. Reading reviews like this of PlayUp Australia can give you a nice idea of how bookies are predicting the remainder of the Tiger’s season.
Since that away win at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day, the Tigers have lost nine and drawn two of their last 11 league games. They’ve got the worst form in the Championship right now and find themselves just two points above the relegation zone. Here are the results from those last 11 fixtures.
- Hull 0-1 Fulham
- Derby 1-0 Hull
- Hull 1-2 Huddersfield
- Hull 1-5 Brentford
- Reading 1-1 Hull
- Blackburn 3-0 Hull
- Hull 4-4 Swansea
- Preston 2-1 Hull
- Hull 0-1 Barnsley
- Hull 0-4 Leeds
- Stoke 5-1 Hull
As you can see, it’s four defeats in a row for Grant McCann’s side. When the league resumes at some point, it doesn’t get any easier with games against West Brom, Bristol City, and Millwall coming up next. Second, seventh, and eight. Tough, which makes their price for relegation even more appealing.
Player Sales in January Didn’t Help
Players come and go at every club during the winter and summer transfer windows, but Hull couldn’t hold on to two of their best players in January, which has ultimately left them in this predicament. We’re talking about Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki.
Jarrod Bowen was arguably Hull’s player of the season up until his inevitable January transfer to a Premier League club. He was banging in goals left, right, and centre for the Tigers as one of the hottest prospects outside of the Premier League, so it was only a matter of time before his services were acquired. West Ham were the lucky club as he moved for around £20m. Great business financially for Hull, but it could backfire if they go down because of it.
You couldn’t really deny Kamil Grosicki his latest move either. West Brom snapped him up for just under £1m. At 31, he knew this was probably his final chance to play Premier League football again. And with the Baggies, he has that chance. More money in the bank for Hull but, again, it could backfire and contribute to their ultimate downfall of relegation to League One.
What Does McCann Need to Do?
Grant McCann had his side playing some good football before the turn of the year, so everyone knows that Hull have the ability to get themselves out of trouble. They’re running out of games though. As mentioned, it looks unlikely that they’ll get anything from their next three fixtures, which will put them in a precarious position.
If they go down, there’s no guarantee they’ll bounce straight back either. Look at Sunderland as a prime example. And Ipswich in fact. The Tractor Boys are currently sitting tenth in League One after being tipped pre-season to return to the Championship at the first attempt.
Since losing their two biggest threats up top, Grant McCann needs to shore up his Hull defence and make them hard to beat. It’s difficult to see how they can keep playing the way they are without Bowen and Grosicki in the side. It just doesn’t work. Tactics need to be altered.
Hull fans just want their side to stay in the division. It’s not going to be pretty, but if you have to stick five men at the back with a holding midfielder sitting just in front of them, then needs must. Even if three points aren’t forthcoming, Hull need to at least turn defeats into draws. Especially against the sides around them.
Grant McCann still has to take his side to Wigan as well as hosting Luton at the KCOM. Those two games will be pivotal. Two wins from those and we may see Hull fight another day in the Championship. Failure to win either and it’s a long road back for the Tigers. It remains to be seen how the season will end, but if Hull don’t change their tactics for the rest of the season, it’s probably going to end badly.