PR: Hull City vs Derby County
Just quickly, if you glanced at the score on Saturday tea time and groaned, don’t be disheartened; City didn’t play badly and while 3–0 at home looks pretty poor on paper, it was down to two errors and some very good goalkeeping by Seny Dieng. It shows just how behind this team the fans are that there were no boos from the crowd (what a joy it was to be there in person, by the way) or any sort of displeasure.
Lucky for the Tigers, Wednesday presents an opportunity for a quick turnaround with the visit of basket case club Derby County. They’re in a right pickle, make no mistake, and they had to get special dispensation from the EFL to sign two players (39-year-old Phil Jagielka and an ageing Sam Baldock) just to flesh out their depleted squad. Derby are under an embargo for breaching EFL rules (a matter which isn’t entirely over as their taxes are being raked through as we speak) and while talk of relegation to League One was settled last season, they also avoided a points deduction and settled for a restricted squad.
Now, I’m not one to moan, but I am a fair person. City currently have two long term injuries and yet they have not been granted the same dispensation to go out and sign two replacements for their squad, despite also being under an embargo (albeit under different circumstances). Hull City have not broken any rules, they simply took out a loan, yet it feels like Derby are being given special treatment when clubs who simply needed the money to get by are being penalised in equal fashion. That’s not on. Yes, it’s possible that City haven’t asked for those two extra cover players, but given the opportunity, I find it hard to believe we would. There’s got to be more transparency from the EFL regarding their rules and they certainly need to be more consistent when dealing with multiple cases, especially with two clubs at the same level. Sorry, chest lighter for that.
Despite all of this, Wayne Rooney’s charges have started with a draw and a defeat, the latter being rather unfortunate at the hands of a plucky Peterborough side. Their squad does have some talent, though the loss of midfielder Krystian Bielik and striker Colin Kazim-Richards will be felt. The two coming in aren’t like for like replacements, although at least Baldock does have a half-decent record and Jagielka at least brings experience. Captain Tom Lawrence is a creative midfielder with a decent set piece in him, while Kamil Jozwiak offers a threat out wide. The now well-travelled Ravel Morrison has already notched this season, though his temperament can be off and if he isn’t in the mood, he’s awful. The rest of the outfield squad are mostly youngsters; Lee Buchanan has caught the eye in defence, while midfielder Louie Sibley enjoyed a decent breakthrough season last year. Former Tigers David Marshall and Curtis Davis could feature, but the former is third choice behind Kelle Roos and Ryan Allsop.
Player to watch: Kamil Jozwiak: The Poland international is no Kamil Grosicki, but he is nippy and can cause problems to defences. He’ll only get better after a full season in English football.
Derby Team News
Erm. Well, the good news for Derby is that Lee Buchanan is fit to face Hull City. The bad news is that highly-rated midfielder Jason Knight and Kornell McDonald won’t be. Sam Baldock and Phil Jagielka were signed in time to feature and will go straight into the traveling Derby squad.
Hull City Team News
Honeyman and Wilks remain the two long term absentees, but Ryan Longman may feature after being brought off as a precaution with a groin twinge. Josh Magennis will also be checked after needing treatment during the 0 – 3 home defeat to QPR. One face in the squad will be a stranger to neither City or Derby fans, as Tom Huddlestone has completed his protracted free transfer to City after Thomas Mayer left for second-tier Austrian side SKU Amstetten on a two-year deal. He could go straight into the side to face his former club, but given his lack of match fitness, it’s likely we’ll see Matt Smith deployed in the number 10 role. George Moncur is suspended for three games, so expect to see Randell Williams given his full debut.