Ask the Opposition

Ask the Opposition 52: Hull (with Rick Skelton)

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Fans walk to the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Hull City and Crystal Palace at KCOM Stadium on December 10, 2016 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Following impressive back-to-back league victories, Manchester City now travel to the KCOM Stadium on Boxing Day with the hope of making it nine points out of nine since being thrashed by Leicester City a few weeks ago.

Hull started the season in fine form, but currently find themselves sitting bottom of the Premier League table and three points off safety.

We caught up with Hull fan, Rick Skelton, in order to get his thoughts on the fixture and his feelings towards the two sides in general.

Hi Rick, thanks for joining us. Hull City were favourites for the drop with most bookmakers at the start of the season, before beating the reigning champions, Leicester City, on the opening day. Did this victory give you a more optimistic outlook on the upcoming season, or did you always think that it was going to be a tough year for Hull?

That result and the following week’s win at Swansea certainly perked everyone up temporarily because our summer was catastrophically bad. Going into the season with 12 fit players, no signings and no permanent manager was a massive downer for everyone.

Mike Phelan started the year as caretaker manager but soon found himself in a permanent role after a very good start to this year’s campaign. Do you feel that he is the right man for the job?

I’m yet to be convinced. His best decisions are ones he is forced into. When he has decisions to make, he looks a bit lost. That said, there isn’t a manager on the planet who could succeed in the job with the hideously poor job the Chairman is doing above him. Steve Bruce didn’t walk for nothing.

Many Hull fans were disappointed with the business conducted in the summer transfer window, despite the signing of Ryan Mason from Spurs, due to the lack of squad depth at the club. Did you share this disappointment? And what have you made of the players that Hull did bring in?

We had a core of good players when we won promotion and were probably in the best position of the promoted clubs just needing to add little bit of quality up front and depth at the back. The injuries we suffered along with our only bit of business prior to the season being to LOSE Mo Diame killed us and did for Steve Bruce. In fairness, everyone worked hard to get players in on deadline day but only Mbokani and Marshall are anything like the required quality. Mason for nearly £13m has been a huge disappointment so far.

On to Manchester City now. What are your perceptions of the Blues as a club, both past and present?

I think we’ve got a lot in common as a fanbase. “Typical City” is a phrase we use often and I think historically it applies to Man City too. We expect the worst with good humour, even during the good times and never get too far ahead of ourselves. It’d be a shame if that’s been lost with all the money pouring into Man City but kind of understandable too.

If you could have one player join Hull from the current Manchester City squad, who would it be and why?

It’d still be Aguero. There isn’t a better finisher in the world when he’s fit and in form. I was tempted to say Sterling because of his pace, his improvement in making decisions and the fact Aguero has a lot of niggly injuries but I’ll stick with the striker. We need one!

Finally, please can we have your predicted Hull team, and your prediction for the final score on Monday?

I’d imagine we’ll keep the three at the back and one just off the striker and go: Marshall; Maguire, Dawson, Davies; Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Clucas, Robertson; Snodgrass; Mbokani.

Sadly, I see a win for the visitors, I’m going 1-2.

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