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Fan Focus: Does Hull Supporter John Uzzell Think That The Tigers Will Maul Moyes' Men?

We spoke to our long standing friend at Hull John Uzzell to find out what's going on with their owners, how they're dealing with an injury crisis similar to ours and, of course, some chatter about tomorrow's huge clash at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

RR: Hull are back in the Premier League but Steve Bruce was gone before a ball was kicked, due to differences with the owners. That must have been incredibly frustrating, obviously, but were you pleased to see Mike Phelan given the gig to retain some element of consistency?

JU: Our flying start to the season was down to Mike Phelan and the players really pulling together in adversity, and it was fantastic. I am not sure he was the man the owners wanted, as other bigger name managers were constantly linked and turned us down - he was the caretaker for ages until they actually gave him the job.

Our victory against Southampton in our last game eased the pressure on him somewhat as we hadn’t won since August, and questions were beginning to be asked about whether he was the right man or not. As it stands, I am personally undecided.

RR: We touched on the owners there but can you fill us in on how the fans feel about Assem Allam? We all know about the ongoing 'Hull Tigers' fiasco but most of us are probably unaware of other grievances that the Hull supporters may have with the chairman.

JU: I believe the majority of us are now hoping and praying that they will just sell up.

We are that desperate for them to leave. In my 25 years supporting the club, we have been in far more disastrous situations than this, such as bottom of the football league and being locked out of our own stadium, yet this is the most disenchanted I have ever felt.

What the Allam’s have done is alienate a large percentage of the fan base.

First was the name change, then the stealth re-branding of the club which has seen us cease to be called Hull City in anything that the club has sent out. We are referred to as Tigers on everything, from tickets, to Wembley shirts, to announcements in the stadium. It is frankly embarrassing. Then to top it all off, the nail in the Allam’s popularity coffin has been our new Membership Scheme that has replaced season tickets. It's not a bad idea in theory, until they decided to scrap concessions for kids and OAPs completely. This has been a PR disaster, priced out a large number of people and upset everybody. It has led to rapidly diminishing crowds and a lot of long standing Hull City supporters boycotting the club until the Allam family has gone.

Very, very dark times indeed.

RR: Do you think there'll be a change on ownership any time soon? I know Assem Allam isn't in the best of health but will he/the family sell up or is it likely the club will be kept under the family's control?

JU: There have been numerous offers for the club, but all have fallen by the wayside up to this point. They did accept one bid from a Far East consortium, but they actually failed the FA’s Fit and Proper Person test. Nobody fails that, so how bad must they have been?!

The worry now is that whilst Assem Allam wants to sell, his son Ehab quite enjoys the power of owning a football club and is doing everything he can for the club to be unsaleable. We can only hope a resolution is found and the club is sold before the January transfer window closes, otherwise, we could be doomed.

RR: Just like at Sunderland there have been a high amount of injuries for Hull this season. Is that down to anything other than sheer bad luck? Just how much of an impact had that had on the team as well? Because it didn't seem to cause too much of a problem early on!

JU: Well, there seemed to be some implication that Steve Bruce’s training methods could have been to blame, but recently we have been dropping like flies again, so I think it is just down to bad luck. Injuries to big players in the summer such as Dawson, McGregor and Odubajo along with the fact we didn’t sign anyone until transfer deadline day didn’t seem to impact us for the first few weeks, but in the long run it has not been great.

RR: Sam Clucas has been catching the eye of many this season and it earned him a new contract. Given you watch him almost every week, just how promising is he?

JU: Sam is an interesting one as many people think he has the potential to be a great player, while some, like myself, think that he is just OK.

I wasn’t overly impressed last year, but due to our lack of players, he moved from his left wing position to a central midfield position at the start of the season. This role has seen him flourish with some very impressive performances. Unfortunately, due to a long term injury to Andy Robertson at left back/wing back, he has been pushed back onto the left and for me, he looks a bit suspect defensively. I hope in the long term he can go back into his midfield position and continue to develop as there is definitely nobody questioning his attitude and work rate.

RR: Onto the game - who will be the main danger man for Sunderland to look out for on Saturday?

JU: Robert Snodgrass has been our main man with four goals and a number of assists already this season. He came back from a terrible knee injury last year and is certainly back to his best. If he was a yard or two quicker, he would be playing for a bigger club than us. He's a very accomplished player who is on form.

RR: And with that in mind, who in the Sunderland side makes you feel uneasy?

JU: The one and only Jermain Defoe. I bet his name comes up every time you ask that question! (Gav - yep.)

RR: How do you think Hull will line up and how do you think they'll approach this one? Will they play for a draw after a great win against Southampton, or will they try and punish our vulnerabilities in an attempt to take all three points?

JU: That's a difficult question to answer. We have just started playing 5 -3- 2 and we have looked far more difficult to break down. Unfortunately we lost our 2 strikers, Keane and Hernandez, to injury last week and along with Diomande being suspended, that leaves us with only one striker in Mbokani. We had to change to a back four again during the Southampton game because of this, so I really don’t know what formation we will play.

I would think we will come to you with an emphasis of looking solid and being hard to beat, rather than expansive and attacking, being away from home. A draw would not be a bad result for us, even though I hope we can nick a winner.

RR: Finally, how do you see this early relegation six pointer going? Give us a prediction.

JU: With our lack of options up front, and that fact that we are both struggling at the foot of the table, I expect a tight and nervous game. Neither of us can really afford to lose it, so I will go for a draw.

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