Last years relegation one the final day of last season would caused for many clubs to reach for panic stations, but from what I can see, Steve Bruce and his team have copped somewhat exceptionally with the task that has been thrown at him. Key players such as Mohammed Diame, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone have all opted to stay at the KC Stadium thus far. This decision has been made by the overwhelming majority of last seasons players, and you have to give credit to Bruce for persuading many of these players to stay put.
With Michael Dawson and James Chester at the heart of the Tigers defence they have arguably the best centre back pairing in the league. Dawson has a mountain of experience in the top flight, but hasn’t played in the Championship since 2005 with Nottingham Forest, and as we know, winning the ‘Old Lady’ is a whole different kettle of fish to surviving in the Premier League. The highly influential Egyptian wing-back Ahmed Elmohamody has also stayed put. The 27-year-old was voted player of the season last time the Tigers were in the Championship, where he is widely known for his, lets say, questionable, dance moves! On the other flank, Andrew Robertson will get his first taste of Championship football since crossing the Scottish border. The youngster blossomed in the second half of the season when he deployed as an attacking wing back, where he was not relied upon so much for his defensive capabilities.
Robert Snodgrass will look to vanish last seasons nightmare by fighting for a spot in Steve Bruce’s starting eleven. It is no secret that he was sidelined for the amjority of the season after dislocating his kneecap against QPR in August. The relegation could be a blessing in disguise for the Scot as he will have time regain fitness and recuperate his skills while waiting to embark on another shot at the big time. Another authoritative name for Hull was midfield dynamo Mohamed Diame. Unfortunately Hull’s stinking luck continued when the Senegalese was ruled out with a knee injury for 23 games. In the handful of appearances Diame did make in the Orange and Black stripes, he managed 4 goals including one against former club West Ham.
With all the Star names still available for the Humberside club, it’s difficult to see anything other than promotion. On the other hand, all the expectation and pressure could prove too much for some of the younger players that may enter the season with high expectations. Despite this, I think the unrivalled experience of Steve Bruce will shine through; after all he has completed the tricky task of promotion three times already in his flourishing career. With the opening game against Huddersfield Town fast approaching, Bruce could make it four.