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Fan Focus: Hull fan Johnny joins us to talk Black Cats v Tigers - & predicts a drab draw

To preview our latest relegation scrap with Hull, albeit in a different division this time, we caught up with our long time Hull correspondent John Uzzell. John spoke to Rory about Leonid Slutsky’s sacking, the appointment of Nigel Adkins and gives his thoughts on Saturday’s game.

Hull City v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League
Hull City Chairman Assam Allem looks on prior the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Queens Park Rangers at KC Stadium on February 21, 2015
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

RR: Since we last met, Leonid Slutsky has been dismissed and replaced with Nigel Adkins. The poor form of Hull made it an unsurprising sacking to outsiders but do you feel he deserved the boot? Was it a bit rash?

JU: In the end it wasn’t a surprise, as the results simply weren’t good enough. It appeared we lacked fitness as we seemed to concede goals in the last 10 minutes of games regularly and overall our defensive performances were very poor.

But Slutsky cannot be totally to blame, as many will point to another shambolic pre-season when our top players were sold, not sufficiently replaced and the fact we did a lot of our business after the season had started for the second season in a row. He seemed a genuinely nice guy though, which makes his failures even more disappointing.

Millwall v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship
Leonid Slutsky was sacked by Hull after a terrible first half of the season
Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

RR: As mentioned, Nigel Adkins has taken the reins. What do you make of your new boss so far? Do you think he’ll turn things around?

JU: It wasn’t a universally popular appointment but he seems to be saying all the right things. Adkins has steadied the ship defensively but this has led to us not scoring many, in fact we haven’t scored a goal in five of our last six league games. As such the results haven’t improved and we are still bang in trouble.

Can he turn it around? I am not sure anybody could turn this mess around if I am being honest.

RR: The transfer window is open and with Hull hovering above the drop zone, do you expect any funds to be made available? If so, where do you need to strengthen?

JU: With the ongoing issues between the Allams and the supporters continuing, I would say very minimal funds will be made available. I think we will be looking at loan signings.

The real question is where we don’t need to strengthen, but priorities for me are two full backs, another centre back, at least one winger and a big striker. I don’t think that will happen though.

2018 FA Cup Football 3rd Round Blackburn Rovers v Hull City Jan 6th
Nigel Adkins replaced Slutsky and is tasked with keeping The Tigers from dropping into League 1
Photo by Danny Payne/Action Plus via Getty Images

RR: On to the game, Jarrod Bowen’s record has been good this season. Is he the main threat for you or is there anyone else you would single out?

JU: Bowen is our biggest threat, as his goal record suggests. I like the look of Jon Toral, who is a classy attacking midfielder with an eye for a pass.

Every now and again Kamil Grosicki, our Polish international winger, decides to turn it on. When he does, he can seem unstoppable.

RR: And who from the Sunderland side is worrying you? Even though we can barely put a team together at the minute!

JU: Well, I would have said Lewis Grabban, but he has gone back to his parent club.

I suppose I am always afraid Lee Cattermole will injure one of our players!

Hull City v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship
Jarrod Bowen has been Hull’s main goal threat this season
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

RR: How do you expect Adkins to approach this game and what do you predict the starting line up will be?

JU: He will go with his usual 4-3-3 formation with two wide players supporting the lone front man. We will try and be hard to beat whilst hitting you on the break, I would think.

RF: Finally, give us a score prediction please!

JU: I hate to say it, but with our recent record when playing you away, I would snap your hand off for a draw.

I think it’ll be 0-0.


You can follow John on Twitter at @Uzzell01.