Hull City end their pre-season programme with a home tie against Peter Houston's Dundee United on Saturday at the KC Stadium with new City boss Nigel Pearson having much to ponder ahead of the big kick off against Swansea.
The biggest problem appears to be finding a strike partnership capable of scoring goals in the Championship. Pearson has experimented with his combination of forwards but has yet to find the right balance between Daniel Cousin, Craig Fagan, Caleb Folan and young Mark Cullen. With Kamel Ghilas seemingly on his way out of the club on loan to a French side there is only Nick Barmby at present as back up to the main four strikers.
From what I have seen of pre-season, Cousin looks the most likely to provide goals and the game against Dundee can be used to find the right partner for the Gabon international. For me it would be Folan.
He earned a reputation as a super sub with goals from the bench in key games, but a fully focused Folan could have the pace to trouble defenders.
Craig Fagan I feel looks more dangerous out wide where his tenacity and crossing ability could play a major part this season. Cullen is still learning and to throw him into a team just relegated may be a gamble to far at this stage. An introduction in the Carling Cup looks a likely way of getting him first team game time.
What is clear is that a new striker is a major priority. It’s unlikely funds would be available to attract proven Championship strikers like Michael Chopra or Matty Fryatt so it seems the loan market is the likely source of a new forward. Any transfers will have to wait for Ghilas's move to France to be confirmed at least, so in the meantime it’s a case of making do for Nigel Pearson.
I don't feel at present we have the personnel to operate with a 5-4-1 system used so often in the World Cup this summer and indeed in pre-season it has has been 4-4-2 so far for City.
Out wide there are a number of options, Richard Garcia is back after his World Cup exploits and Peter Halmosi has returned from a loan spell in his native Hungary. Halmosi has a proven Championship pedigree and if Pearson can get the sort of form he showed for Plymouth in this league from him, he would be like a new signing for the Tigers.
I would also like to see Jamie Devitt been given the chance to show what he is capable of. Devitt did well on loan in League Two last season at Grimsby and he now needs to convince the manager he can perform two divisions higher.
Whilst the defence has plenty of experience, it will need to be much tighter for the visit of the Terrors than it was against Sunderland last week where it shipped four goals in the first half to ex-Tiger Frazier Campbell. Myhill should get the nod in goal.
Hopefully both managers will resist the temptation to make wholesale substitutions until late in the game to keep it as competitive as possible, and United are expected to bring over 500 fans down from Tayside.
In the final game before Swansea, Tigers’ fans can only hope that their strikers start to hit the target and boost their confidence, but with only five goals between them last season, it looks a tall order.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.