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Nightmare defeat for Hull

Hull City

Hull's agonising fight for survival


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Hull City

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Hull City face a host a problems in their bid for Premier League survival

Hull City bounced back to the Premier League following victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship playoff final. But can they stay there?

Here's a look ahead to the 2016-17 campaign.

At a glance

After the glory of promotion from the Championship comes the dread of a Premier League return for a club ill-equipped in the extreme.

Quick predictions

Premier League: ​19th
FA Cup: Fourth Round
League Cup: Third Round 

Transfer business

Remarkably, the only transfer of note so far has been the sale of Mohamed Diame to Newcastle United for £4.5m. Hull City offered him a new deal but a release clause left them powerless to hang on to the player that scored the winning goal in the Championship playoff. Perhaps Diame would have stuck around had City been more proactive this summer. Only Will Mannion, an 18-year-old goalkeeper from AFC Wimbledon, has been recruited since promotion and the £200,000 spent to sign Dusan Kuciak from Legia Warsaw remains the club's only cash outlay of 2016.

The summer window has been a stagnant disaster, made all the worse by the loss of Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce, Moses Odubajo and Michael Dawson to long-term injuries. Little wonder Steve Bruce saw no choice but to resign as manager when backing failed to materialise. The remaining weeks of the window have to bring reinforcements if City are to stand even the slightest chance of survival. Perhaps as many as 11 new faces are required all across the squad. Central defence is a particular concern, with Curtis Davies currently the only fit option. There could be just 13 senior players fit for the opening weekend date with Leicester.

No successor has been named for the departed Steve Bruce, who left amid frustration and a lack of backing in the transfer market.

Key questions

It is hard to know where to start, but first there needs to be a plan. At present Hull City feel like a club without one. The search for Bruce's successor has taken too long and that, in turn, has placed recruitment on hold. How much will a new manager have to spend and will there be enough time to do the business that is so desperately needed to compete in the Premier League?

Perhaps the biggest question surrounds the club's ownership. A takeover appeared set for a conclusion shortly after the Championship playoff final but three weeks ago it was announced that talks would be placed on hold until after the transfer window had closed to "ensure stability." Weary supporters long for a fresh start that can only come with the departure of the Allam family. For all the good work that has come during their six years in charge (two promotions, an FA Cup final and European football) the damage done with a failed name change bid and unpopular membership scheme can never be fixed.

Unrest will be the backing track to the season if they remain in charge.

Potential pitfalls

A week before the season begins, relegation feels like the probable pitfall, not the potential pitfall. Survival is already being talked about as the stuff of fancy in East Yorkshire. David Meyler, the club's midfielder, said "it would be some story" if they were able to stay up. One bookmaker has even drawn up odds on City recording a lowest points total in Premier League history. Supporters can only cling to the hope that August will bring respite on and off the pitch. Plenty can change in a month but as things stand a depleted squad short on proven Premier League talent will be in for a long old season.

Hull's Andy Robertson
Andy Robertson's second go round with Hull in the Premier League should be an improvement on 2014-15.

One to watch 

Moses Odubajo looked a good bet for this category until he dislocated his kneecap in the club's opening friendly last month, but the full-back on the opposite flank, Andy Robertson, is arguably even better. The young Scot had an up and down debut season in the Premier League in 2014-15 but will return stronger after the hard yards of the Championship. West Ham United bid £7m for Robertson this summer but City, quite rightly, believe him to be worth at least double that figure. Although the learning curve goes on, Robertson has the potential to be a genuine star of the Premier League.

Philip Buckingham is ESPN FC's Hull City blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @PJBuckingham.


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