Fan Focus: We Get Mulled By Tigers Fan John Uzzell

Gareth Copley

We catch up with the Hull City perspective on the eve of the crucial Premier League clash at the KC.

There isn't that much I know about Hull City (never Hull Tigers!), but that is mainly because a very long time ago I learned that if you ever want to know anything about Hull, just ask John Uzzell - so I did.

Over to you John.

So, how has Hull's start to the season been?

John Uzzell: Very encouraging. Everyone expected a struggle, but the signing of Tom Huddlestone just before the start of the season seemed to build confidence around the club that we could compete.

Despite losing narrowly against all the big guns away from home so far, we have won or drawn every game in which we would have thought we could get something. Those are the important games, against the likes of Norwich, Cardiff and yourselves. We just need to keep picking up points at home, as we know how difficult it is to get anything away from home in this division.

He's largely been derided on Wearsiee but I'm curious to know how Danny Graham is getting on...

JU: Hmmm, I think he splits the fans really. There is no doubt that he works hard but he just doesn't seem to have that yard of pace to get beyond defenders at this level. He isn't a bad player, but he REALLY, REALLY needs a goal as he looks like a player that is so short of confidence.

Even if he gets one, I am not sure he will get a bag full. I certainly wouldn't want us paying 5 million for him at the end of the season. Maybe a cheeky 1 million??

There's actually quite the collection of Sunderland old boys there, and all seemingly mainstays of the team. None of them quite made the impact here though. Are they doing well?

JU: John: They definitely played a massive part in our promotion team last year, with Elmo probably being our best player across the season and Meyler adding that little bit extra to our midfield just when we needed it. This season, Elmo is still a big part of the team. He offers us a real outlet on the wing and his energy getting up and down is vital. Ok, some of his crossing is wayward, but every now and then he picks out a beauty.

Meyler is just a squad man now, not a bad player, but one of those who looks more comfortable in the Championship where possession isn't quite as crucial. Certainly a decent back up for Huddlestone and Livermore.

That leaves "Super" Paul McShane. He has gone from being much maligned to being a cult terrace hero here at Hull City. As you will know he always gave 100% but was always liable to drop a clanger or give the ball away cheaply.

I think the two years before last season, when he was frozen out at the KC by both Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby and led him to almost quit the game has made Paul realise that it might not get much better than this in his career. Since Bruce gave him a chance last season, he grabbed it with both hands. Out went the defensive lapses (cue one on Saturday against yourselves) and in came the picture of consistency. Probably a backup to Davies and Chester this season, he will take every chance that comes his way.

Ohh, and we love Steve Bruce as well by the way.

Tom Huddlestone is regarded as 'the one who got away' for us this summer. He seems to be doing well too...

JU: Huddlestone is our big signing and big name player. He is a lovely footballer, and is really benefitting from being the main man here. He has been integral to us controlling the midfield in most of our games this season. He provides the base for us to go and play.

A mention also must go to Jake Livermore, who's running and energy lets Huddlestone focus on what he is good at, keeping possession and playing incisive passes. Sunderland's loss has certainly been Hull City's gain

Steve Bruce has been known to adopt a 3-5-2 formation. Is this formation working well? Not many others seem to try it.

JU: Brucie hasn't adopted this formation this season, reverting back to four at the back until against Tottenham last Sunday, when injuries depleted us badly. I think this decision comes down to the fact that by the end of last season, teams seemed to have worked us out playing with the three, and it became less effective. The flat back four is working well enough for now.

What do you think will be the major obstacle for Sunderland to overcome this weekend, and who should we look out for?

JU: That is an interesting question, two weeks ago I would be answering this differently. Injuries are hurting us at the moment. Two of our star men so far this season, Brady and Aluko, are 50/50 for Saturday. It would be a real boost for us going forward to see them fit.

As it stands, as mentioned before, our central midfield of Huddlestone and Livermore look like our strongest area. We are also solid at the back, having conceded only 10 in 9 Premier league games. The main man at the back for us is Curtis Davies, who looks an absolute steal at around 2 million. He has been fantastic.

It is a shame also that our keeper McGregor is now out for a while, as he has generally looked very sound. At least it gives the Sunderland supporters a chance to boo Steve Harper.

We may well be second bottom of the league but is there any worry from your end about the Sunderland side?

JU: I think every side worries us this season, we are not stupid enough to believe that our good start has given us any right to lord it over teams below us. I am quite glad that you beat Newcastle as it would be the typical City way to get beat at home against the winless side, see Peterborough last season.

I do believe that Di Canio bought poorly this summer, with not enough of them having any English football experience, and we just wished you would have kept him on a little longer, so the points gap would have been larger.

What's your prediction for the game...

JU: It all depends on our injury situation. If Brady and Aluko are still out, then we may struggle to open you up. But it is a game that we must target a win. I will go for a 1-1 draw.

Also, listen out for our "City till we Die" chant at 19 min and 04 seconds. It is our way of protesting against our proposed name change to Hull Tigers. 1904 being the year we were formed. No individual has the right to change 109 years of history and your support would be most appreciated.

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