Here we have the views from Hull City fan Rick Skelton ahead of our trip to the KC Stadium this weekend. You can follow Rick on Twitter.
The visit of Palace on Saturday comes at a very interesting time for Hull City.
We’ve started the season well but every away trip has been difficult which puts more pressure on home games. With respect to the Eagles (Crystal Palace Eagles?), this is a game every City fan expects them to win which brings further pressure.
The two teams have made completely differing starts to the season. While the Tigers have exceeded my expectations, I thought Palace might struggle. They had a very odd summer, doing little business until it was almost too late and then scrambling around.
That’s not a great model in any sport but particularly when you’re stepping up a level in terms of competition.
City, on the other hand, spread their business throughout the summer and got players in for pre-season. I think that always helps. It’s been reflected in the start as eleven new signings have gelled quickly and have all picked up the ethos from last season. I think the unity and willingness to work for each other got us a long way last year.
I noticed Ian Holloway mentioned when he left Palace that he felt he’d lost that team ethic and that’s very understandable. It’s certainly a key difference between the two squads.
Before the international break, City were thumped at Southampton which stung a bit. It’s the only game so far (including trips to Chelsea, Man City, Spurs and Everton) that we haven’t been competitive. Injuries have been cruel to us with Koren, Chester, Graham, Aluko, Brady and McGregor all having missed chunks of the season already. Aluko and McGregor still have several weeks out. I can’t see Chester making the game at the weekend either.
Aluko’s the biggest blow. He’s our real difference maker. He’s a terrific little player with bags of pace and great trickery. If Robbie Brady is now fully recovered from his hernia, he’ll give us a boost. He and Yannick Sagbo will be the biggest goal threats and Brady delivers a lot of the set pieces from the right for our big centre halves.
I think we should have the edge in the midfield with Huddlestone and Livermore pulling the strings.
The only real cloud over the KC Stadium is the name change nonsense. It’s intensified in the last couple of weeks with insensitive and disrespectful comments from the chairman and I hope that doesn’t affect the atmosphere in the stadium because the players and management have nothing to do with it.
I’ve seen Palace a couple of times recently and they’ve been unlucky. They were the better team against Fulham until Kasami’s wonder goal and played well against Arsenal without getting the rewards. Jerome Thomas (a former Tigers’ trialist) is a player who can cause damage and Bolasie is a danger with his pace. We’ll have to stand up to Jedinak and Dikgacoi too. They can make it a real midfield battle.
The manager situation at Palace is familiar to Hull. When we benched Phil Brown during the 2009/10 we were linked with all sorts of people and ended up with Iain ‘chuffing’ Dowie. Unfortunately, any manager with pedigree is looking to avoid a potential relegation on his CV.
As with City back then, I’m astounded that Steve Parish didn’t have someone in place before the previous manager went.
With all the uncertainty in the visiting camp, I see a home win. I think it will be a lot tougher than some expect though and hope the home crowd are patient. Some hope.
Welcome Damien Delaney back to the KC Stadium. A Hull City legend.