Trio of derbies could be make or break for Nigel. (©PAphotos)
by Dave Batte
, read by 401 people.
The life of a Hull City fan is not a good one just now. Two home games in a week and two defeats with nothing in the performances to suggest it’s likely to change any time soon.
On top of that, the news that Jimmy Bullard faces at least a three week lay-off with a knee injury sustained during the recent international break, Robert Koren is out for two weeks with a hamstring injury and Daniel Ayala is suspended for the weekend trip to Barnsley does not make for happy reading.
City have dropped dangerously close to the relegation zone and the team continues to struggle to score goals and it was 36-year-old Nick Barmby who found the net in the home tie with Portsmouth.
Add in a bizarre post match press conference where manager Nigel Pearson, clearly feeling the strain, sounded deflated and irritated by the media's interest in Bullard's injury and happy days seem far away at the KC Stadium. He also indicated he had to change the team on the day of the game which had obviously upset the City boss.
The home defeat to Sheffield United a few days before Portsmouth was considered by many to be one of the poorest matches seen at the KC in many a year; a game lit up only by a spectacular goal from ex-Tiger Mark Yeates. It is a worrying time and it’s hard at the moment to see how things can be turned around on the pitch.
Off the pitch, a substantial bid has been made by local businessman Assem Allam to take a controlling interest in the club and negotiations are continuing with City owner Russell Bartlett. A swift conclusion to the negotiations can only be of benefit to the club and team, hopefully providing Pearson with some much-needed funds for the January transfer window.
The continuing goalscoring problem is the major worry now for City fans. Pearson has tried combinations of Folan, Simpson, Barmby,Vine and Fagan without yet hitting on the right pairing. It has to be said though that there have been few chances created for those strikers.
The fans have remained, on the whole, supportive of the City boss but murmurings of discontent could be heard at the Portsmouth match in the second half.
On a brighter note, James Harper made his City debut as a sub in the Pompey game and looked very motivated and keen to make an impression and his experience can only help. Personally, I would put club captain Ian Ashbee back in the team alongside Harper for this weekend game at Barnsley.
It was also good to see young Jamie Devitt handed an opportunity in the team and in time I feel he can be a major asset with his skill and willingness to take on the full back. There may be a case for a recall for Kamil Zayatte to replace Ayala at Barnsley, but it seems the defender and the manager are not seeing eye to eye and its unlikely he will be recalled, all of which leaves the door open for local lad Liam Cooper to deputise.
Barnsley is the first of three back-to-back local derbies with Scunthorpe and Leeds to follow. All three are in the bottom half of the Championship table and City must take at least four points from the three games.
The Tiger army will keep the faith if they can see endeavour on the pitch and over 20,000 turned out for the Portsmouth game, but at the moment they are not dancing with their tiger feet.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.