TEAM PREVIEW: Hull City – Ian Ashbee expects promotion to be the aim

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The miracle escape against Manchester United in 2009 couldn’t be repeated, despite a better result than they achieved six years ago. Steve Bruce’s men sunk after a 0-0 draw with United and are now preparing for a season in the Championship. Signings have been limited, but it appears they’re preparing to spend big on a couple of Brentford stars.

Last Season: Premier League (18th)

Manager: Steve Bruce

 

Squad

GKs: Allan McGregor, Eldin Jakupovic, Rory Watson
DFs: Alex Bruce, Curtis Davies, Harry Maguire, Michael Dawson, Andrew Robertson, Conor Townsend, Brian Lenihan, Isaac Hayden, Ryan Taylor
MFs: David Meyler, Tom Huddlestone, Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore, Mohamed Diame, Ahmed Elmohamady, Sam Clucas
FWs: Abel Hernandez, Nikica Jelavic, Sone Aluko, Dame N’Doye, Calaum Jahraldo-Martin, Chuba Akpom

 

Transfers

In: Sam Clucas (Chesterfield), Ryan Taylor (Newcastle United), Isaac Hayden (Arsenal – Loan), Chuba Akpom (Arsenal – Loan)

Out: Joe Dudgeon (Released), Maynor Figueroa (Released), Steve Harper (Released), Jonathon Margetts (Tranmere Rovers), Paul McShane (Reading), Mark Oxley (Hibernian), Stephen Quinn (Reading), Liam Rosenior (Brighton & Hove Albion), Yannick Sagbo (Released), Tom Ince (Derby County), Robbie Brady (Norwich City), James Chester (West Brom)

 

First Six: Huddersfield Town (H), Wolves (A), Fulham (H), Charlton Athletic (A), Preston North End (H), Brighton & Hove Albion (A)

Likely Lineup: (3-5-2) McGregor – Dawson, Davies, Bruce – Elmohamady, Meyler, Huddlestone, Clucas, Robertson – N’Doye, Jelavic

 

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A word from…Ian Ashbee

On his time rising up the leagues When I first came over, the club were still playing at the old Boothferry Park. Things were outdated, officers were porter cabins, there was a supermarket at one end of the ground! It was a ground that was steeped in history for Hull City but it had seen its best days.

I think the club nearly went out of business at one point, the ground had been shut but thankfully things took a turn for the better when we moved to the KC Stadium. It must have turned around when they signed me! The fan base has always been excellent, Peter Taylor came in who’d just given David Beckham the England captaincy and having him here was great for getting the ball running for me personally.

On Wembley It was a difficult time back then and I knew how much it meant to a lot of people at the club that day to get promoted to the Premier League, I did have a tear in my eye because I knew more than most how much it meant to the club and everyone who had been involved as long as I had. It’s a day I’ll never forget.

It was a mental rollercoaster, mentally and physically, there is always pressure at a club like Hull City. You have to be mentally tough in any sport though, but we had plenty of it at Hull, I was about winning games of football and I think that spread around the dressing room. We had to dig in at times, but we had a great core in our team and that got us promoted in the end.

On continuity post-relegation It’s really important, it’s too easy these days to just get rid of managers. Players will always come and go depending on who plays well but with someone like Steve Bruce in charge you’ve got a chance. He’s got teams out of this league before, including Hull.

The players who have been in this league before have got to accept responsibility, put it right this year and bounce straight back up. You need a good striker at that level, we had experience in Dean Windass, I would always spend good money on someone who can get 20 goals in the Championship, it means you’ll be winning more games and that’s paramount to getting out of the league.

On expectations The expectation around Hull is 100% to go back up. We’re on the map a bit more now as a football club, people take us more seriously and we’ve got a good enough squad and manager. It’s going to be a difficult league as always, the Championship is always difficult but Hull have got a great chance.

 

The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Hull haven’t lost too many key men and received good money for James Chester and Robbie Brady in order to strengthen other areas of the side. If Andre Gray comes in, his goals could make all the difference, for now, play-offs at best for Hull City.

Key Player: Tom Huddlestone – If he stays and plays weekly, Huddlestone will become a very accomplished player in the Championship. His midfield presence and ability to find the net will make him as important as he was in the Premier League.

One to Watch: Chuba Akpom – With several strikers still set to leave, Akpom could get a fair chance to impress this season. It looked like Arsenal might keep him after a hattrick in pre-season but it seems Arsene Wenger believes the Championship might be a good place for him to showcase his talents.

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