Toothless Tigers need to show some bite

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At present, away wins for Hull City come around as often as a new album from X Factor winner Shayne Ward and, frankly, Ward is in the driving seat at the moment for turning things around.

On Saturday, a Cardiff side shorn of its three main strikers, Craig Bellamy, Jay Bothroyd and Michael Chopra still managed to pierce the City defence twice without ever looking likely to concede themselves. It’d hard to take positives from such a defeat and when your best effort on goal comes from right back Paul McShane, it shows just how toothless the Tigers were in attack.

The introduction of Jay Simpson did though suggest the new striker is finally finding his feet at Hull as he showed plenty of endeavour in the 30 minutes or so he had.

Many City fans were baffled by the selection of Craig Fagan and Nicky Barmby to start in attack: Fagan had not played since July through injury and looked some way off match fitness whilst Barmby rarely plays more than 60 minutes in a City shirt these days. The Cardiff defence never looked troubled despite City having plenty of possession indeed City's ball retention was excellent in the second half but they could just not find any creative spark to unlock the Bluebirds defence.

So step forward Mr Jimmy Bullard. For the first time this season manager Nigel Pearson has indicated he may call upon the skills of Hull's record signing and if anyone has the ability and verve to get a team going offensively it's Bullard.

There has been much speculation about Jimmy's commitment to the club and where his future may lie, but it would seem in the best interests of both club and player to have him in the team pulling the strings for the likes of Simpson and Fagan. Who would drop out to accommodate Bullard is less easy to predict ,with John Bostock pushing for a recall and City still looking to get the best out of Slovenia's captain Robert Koren,the slot next to captain Ian Ashbee in centre midfield is up for grabs.

Anthony Gerrard and Daniel Ayala will both make their home debuts at the KC against Derby and are likely to face the Rams new loan striker Shefki Kuqi borrowed from Swansea. Kuqi has already featured as a sub against City this season without any joy in the opening game of the season with Swansea and I feel its likely to be Kris Commons who the tigers have to fear in the Derby side. Nigel Clough like Nigel Pearson was unhappy with his teams's showing at home to Sheffield United on Saturday and wants more determination from his players and will be looking for a reaction against Hull..

This is a game both managers will feel they can win, so it would appear to have a draw written all over it and, with both teams struggling to score, a 0-0 looks a good bet. But the goals have to flow sometime and Fagan up against his former club might, if restored to a wide position be the man to kick start some goal action. Hopefully the Tigers will restore the faith and plunge The Rams into greater difficulties.

Incidentally, they say Shayne Ward is on the comeback trail, I hope the Tigers are too.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Jimmy Bullard
Hull City

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