It’s been a tough season so far for relegated Hull City, but they’re still sure to present a tough challenge for Reading when the two sides meet on Saturday.
To find out about the threat the Tigers face, and to check in on some faces that will be very familiar to Reading fans, we spoke to Andy Dalton, editor of Hull fan site Amber Nectar. You can find them on Twitter @AmberNectarHull.
Going into Saturday’s game, you’re only off the bottom three on goal difference - why is that? What’s gone wrong this season?
It all went wrong in the summer for the second year in a row. Players were sold, no attempt to replace them was made, leaving us with a mediocre starting XI and a wretchedly thin squad wholly unprepared for the slog of the Championship. The responsibility for that lies solely with the owners, who show no interest whatsoever in running the club properly and are almost obsessive in their hatred for City fans.
Hull recently appointed former Reading manager Nigel Adkins - what have you made of him so far, and is he the man to keep you up?
He’s got a bad hand to play, and it remains to be seen what he can make of it. Since he came in, we’ve looked a little less porous in defence, though goals have dried up a little and we’ve slid further down the table. He may just about keep us up, but it won’t be by much.
Who’s the danger man to watch out for in this Hull team?
Jarrod Bowen. A young player who cuts in effectively from the wing, has a decent shot on him and a pleasingly abrasive temperament. He never hides when things are going wrong, as they frequently are, and he’s got a lot about him. Which means he’ll probably be sold before the month is out…
Reading academy graduate Michael Hector is on loan with you this season - how’s he done?
He’s received mixed reviews. He’s not great with the ball at his feet, and the next mistake never feels too far away, but then again he doesn’t get an awful lot of help sometimes. He’s okay. Nothing more.
What have you made of Reading this season? Is there anyone in our team you’re worried about facing?
I had Reading down for a solid mid-table finish, so I was as surprised to see you join the party at the bottom as I was by the impressive early start. Given the preponderance of ex-Tigers in the Reading squad, pretty much all of them worry me (even Mannone), given the former-players-scoring-against-you jinx that every football fan probably identifies.
We know that Sone Aluko can win a match on his own if he’s in the mood; it’s against his former club, and you haven’t won for a while – writes itself, doesn’t it?
How do you see the game going, and what will the score be?
For a team that’s been at the arse end of the table all season, we’ve actually scored boatloads at home this season – 30 already, the most in the division (while less impressively shipping 23, the second most in the division).
At four goals per home goal so far, ordinarily I might suggest you tuck into a goalfest, except that these are two struggling sides who’ll both be terrified of losing. One goal will probably settle it, but I’m not sure we’ll even get that. An edgy 0-0.