PR: Hull City vs Reading
Looking into the history books of Hull City vs Reading, I don’t think I have seen a more even set of numbers. Since 1906; 57 games have been played, City victors on 19 occasions, Reading 18 whilst 20 have been tied. The Tigers in recent years have become a bit of a bogey side for the Royals; just one loss in the last fourteen for the men in Amber and Black. These are just stats with very little bearing on the game that will be played out on Saturday afternoon (although I worry that I have jinxed it).
It must be a nice feeling for a new head coach to come in a have a profound impact on the side. Rosenior said in his press conference that Dawson and Richardson set the platform for the good results in recent weeks. There has been an improved attitude and pace to the Tigers since the change. It might be seen to progress further after a month of working with the team during the World Cup. The city seems to be slowly stirring to get behind the former fans favourite. Even during the Sherlocks/Fratellis/Kaiser Cheifs gig at the Bonus Arena on Tuesday night (I would recommend all three), chants amongst those there spontaneously broke out as City took the lead and it even felt like leaving a game with some of the singing “Fifty grand, Regan Slater” after the concert.
Selection dilemmas were for all the wrong reasons not long ago but every player who has spent time on the pitch in recent games have made a good cause for their inclusion in the starting XI. I did receive some stick for “picking on” Tufan in my last preview, but he has looked lively when off the bench and arguably was the game-changer against Cardiff. Jacob Greaves at left-back has found some form in a different capacity to what we are used to but his enthusiasm for bombing on and whipping a deadly cross into the area is great to watch. As for Slater and Docherty, they have been revelations when they have played this season.
If you had spoken to many fans and pundits ahead of the season it would have been expected that the sides would be inverse positions of each other. A stunning start to the season saw the visitors in the upper echelons of the Championship table. After a victory against Huddersfield on the 1st October Reading were sat 3rd, since then the Berkshire side have slipped to 13th with just one win. The two main strikers, Carroll and Joao offer experience and height which would suggest that the Royals would be good away from home. This is not the case with just two wins this season from ten.
Every time I preview a game for the OSC, it feels that there is a former player or two to keep an eye on. One player this time has a pretty good record against the Tigers despite a wasted spell at the club back in the Premier League days, is Tom Ince. I would not be surprised if he was to provide a pass or cross for Shane Long to score. In a smidge of irony, Liam Rosenior is up against the last permanent side he played for prior to signing for Hull City in 2010.
Expected XI: Baxter; Christie, Figueiredo, A.Jones, Greaves; Seri, Woods; Slater, Tufan, Docherty; Longman.
Prediction: Hull City 3-1 Reading
Simon Bromwich – preview in partnership with Hull City OSC.