I have to admit that I had Premier League new boys Hull City down for a quick-fire return to the Championship this season.
I even wrote an editorial stating that the Tigers would need a miracle to survive the drop this season.
The Tigers have defied the odds and expectations in their opening two Premier League games, recording successive wins against champions Leicester and Swansea.
Let’s not get carried away though as its only two games, but it is a highly-respectable start to the campaign.
Despite that good start to the campaign the Tigers are still desperately short of players and surely need to bring some players in before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
Threadbare squad would be an understatement
To say Hull caretaker boss Mike Phelan has a threadbare squad would be like saying Mount Everest is quite big. The Tigers currently only have 13 fit players to choose from. Central midfielder Jake Livermore has had to fill in a centre-back with Alex Bruce, Michael Dawson and Harry Maguire all out injured.
The situation has left Phelan with little choice but to field the same players. Ironically the one senior outfield substitute on the bench against Swansea, Shaun Maloney, came on to score and create a goal for the Tigers in a 2-0 win.
Maybe it’s not the quantity, but the quality of the substitutes after all. However, the Tigers cannot go through a whole campaign with their current squad, it is just too small.
Takeover talks have hampered transfer business
Hull’s highly unpopular owners the Allam’s are reportedly in the midst of selling the club, with a Chinese consortium attempting to buy the club. The potential new owners were at the Tigers 2-1 win over champions Leicester on the opening weekend of the season.
The prospective Tigers owners have set-up a UK company in preparation of purchasing the Humberside club. Unfortunately, the takeover talks have left the club in limbo when it comes to spending money to strengthen their squad before the deadline.
A number of players have been linked with the club, including Scott Hogan of Brentford, Aston Villa’s Micah Richards and Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason.
However, the Tigers outgoing owners are unlikely to invest any money in new signings if it is not going to benefit them in the future, as they do not come across as the generous sort.
In a relegation fight this season
Jokes about Hull doing a Leicester this season have been doing the rounds since their win at Swansea on Saturday. In truth, despite their good start, the Tigers are more than likely to be in a relegation battle this season.
Phelan’s team are currently odds of 10/11, which makes them joint-favourites with Burnley to make a quick return to the second tier. The Tigers current players have shown a tremendous team spirit so far this season, obviously imbued by the close-knit squad.
How long this current group of players can keep up their good form remains to be seen. At some point, the players who are playing week-in-week-out will get tired. In days gone by teams could win titles with 15 or 16 players, but the pace of the modern game means that is very difficult.
Mike Phelan has to be applauded for the job he has done with the Humberside club and surely now deserves to be given the reigns on a full-time basis. If the Tigers are unable to strengthen their squad before the deadline next week then they could be in big trouble later in the season.
Nobody will blame Phelan if the club were relegated. At the moment they are riding on the crest of a wave of two successive wins, but the Tigers are just a few more injuries away from not being able to field a full first team and that could be their undoing at the end of the campaign.
The Tigers team spirit and quality face a real test of character this weekend as Manchester United arrive at the KCOM Stadium. Hopefully, by the weekend the Tigers will have added a few more bodies to their threadbare squad.
Will Hull City make any signings before the transfer window shuts?
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