Hull have had a mixed start to the Championship season – just like the Bees – winning one and losing one of their first two games.
They opened with a 2-1 defeat at Swansea, and then beat Reading by the same score last Saturday.
They did go one better than the Bees in the Carabao Cup however – making it into the second round with a 3-0 win at League One Tranmere, to set up a second round tie at Preston the week after next.
Over the summer, Grant McCann took over as head coach from Nigel Adkins, who left the club at the end of his contract following 18 months in charge.
The main boost for the Tigers in the transfer window was keeping hold of their star player Jarrod Bowen, who scored 22 Championship goals and did not miss a league game last season.
Hull are in their third successive season back in the Championship following relegation from the Premier League in 2017.
They have hovered between the top two divisions since winning promotion as League One runners-up in 2005, with five seasons in the top flight in that time.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
As already mentioned, Grant McCann was appointed as Hull’s head coach in June on a 12-month rolling deal.
McCann left Doncaster to move across Yorkshire, having guided Rovers to the League One play-offs. where they lost to Charlton in the semi-finals.
At the time of his appointment, McCann said: “To be in the Championship is the next step for me, and I’m pleased to be taking that step with a great club like Hull City.”
The former Northern Ireland international midfielder, who won 39 full caps for his country, started his managerial career at Peterborough.
He had finished his playing career in England with Posh, having also played for West Ham, Cheltenham, Barnsley and Scunthorpe and having loan spells at Livingston and Notts County. He ended his playing days at Linfield.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford’s recent record against Hull is poor and in six Championship meetings, we have one win, one draw and four defeats.
The two matches in 2015/16, both on Tuesday nights, each ended up 2-0 to the Tigers, with goals from Andrew Robertson (now at Liverpool) and Sam Clucas in the second half deciding the Griffin Park encounter in November, before a Harlee Dean own goal and a strike from Mohamed Diame wrapped up the scoring in the first half of the return match in April.
In 2017/18, we lost again when we met Hull on a bitterly cold December day – but at least this time we scored, despite going down to a 3-2 defeat.
Once again, there were only goals in one half – this time the second. We took a 47th minute lead through a David Meyler own goal, set up by Ollie Watkins, but Kamil Grosicki quickly equalised and Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine put the Tigers on top before John Egan’s 87th-minute header set up a tense finish.
We finally got a point in the return game on the final day of the season.
Sergi Canos gave us an early lead, but Jarrod Bowen equalised in first-half injury-time. On-loan Harry Wilson had a chance to win it for the Tigers on the hour mark, but Luke Daniels saved his penalty and the match finished 1-1.
Hull’s dominance returned in last season’s away game in mid-December as an early Frazier Campbell double condemned us to another 2-0 defeat – our eighth loss in 10 matches under Thomas Frank.
We finally earned three points from The Tigers in a superb display in February, when a Said Benrahma hat-trick inspired us to a 5-1 win.
Even then, Hull had taken the lead when Frazier Campbell once again found the net against us.
But Benrahma quickly set up Kamo Mokotjo to equalise, before scoring twice himself before half-time – with his first strike being voted as our goal of the season.
Neal Maupay made it 4-1 soon after the break, before Benrahma wrapped up our sixth successive home win in all competitions – and his personal treble – in the 81st minute.
Q – How do you assess Hull’s start to the season?
A – There’s been signs of encouragement in both the opening day defeat at Swansea and the home win against Reading and indeed in the League Cup victory at Tranmere in a team with 11 changes. One noticeable thing in both league games, they’ve been much better in the first half and fallen off the cliff in the second.
Q – What are the expectations for City this season – promotion push, mid-table or relegation battle and why?
A – My pre-season expectation was survival, I wondered whether they might be this year’s Ipswich, with a League One manager and League One players. Having said that, not losing Grosicki and Bowen is a major factor in adjusting expectations upwards. The club’s stated aim is the play-offs but I’m still not sure where the reality will lie. I’ve been impressed with the transfer numbers in, but as always is there sufficient quality? Keeping Bowen and Grosicki for the season will determine much.
Q – Was the managerial change a surprise and what impact has Grant McCann had so far?
A – Losing Nigel Adkins was a shame, and I still wonder how you pee off the most positive man in football? Having said that, Grant McCann has impressed with word and deed so far and his record suggests he’s got something about him. A bit like his signings, he now has to prove his quality at a higher level.
Q – Keeping Jarrod Bowen was a boost for Hull, so how would you assess this summer’s transfer activity?
A – There seem to have been lessons learned by the club’s hierarchy in getting more volume and speed to the summer business. Previous summers have been poor with managers under pressure by the time Santa is checking the red suit still fits. Keeping Bowen and Grosicki was their best business and Tom Eaves, the new striker from Gillingham, already looks like he might be a find. I was impressed with his touch and hold-up play last week and his record over the last two years suggests goals should follow.
Q – How much have the off-field issues between owners and fans continued?
A – The ongoing disconnect between fans and owners is still….ongoing! I think only a sale of the club will solve that problem. Some bridge rebuilding has been attempted, but looking at swathes of empty seats at the KCOM tells you all you need to now. It’s all very sad.
Q – What style of football will the Tigers be playing?
A – High-pressing, high-tempo stuff with some quality about it in a 4-3-3. The first 20 minutes against Reading last week would have tested most teams in the division, they played some lovely stuff. However, so far they’ve not been able to maintain it and both second 45s have left a bit to be desired.
Q – Which players should Bees fans watch out for?
A – The aforementioned front three of Bowen, Grosicki and Eaves.
Q – Finally can you give me a possible U’s starting line-up and formation?
A – Goalkeeper – Long
Back Four – Lichaj, Burke, De Wijs, Kinglsey.
Midfield – Batty, Stewart, Irvine
Attack – Bowen, Eaves, Grosicki.
Kingsley at left-back is probably most under pressure for his place, but I’m not sure ex-Brentford loanee Elder is fit to replace him yet.
BEESOTTED SCORE PREDICTIONS
Some of the Beesotted crew have given me their score predictions for Saturday’s game.
London 4 Hull 0 Housemartins’ cup semi goes to extra time. Lou Boyd
Brentford 3-1 Hull With our summer signings still adapting to the Brentford way, a tough game against some robust and technically gifted opposition players will see us struggle at times. If our forwards are all firing, I think a win is on the cards. Robin Hood
3-1 Bees Full of confidence from the Boro away win, Brentford continue with attacking prowess. Watkins double and Forss late goal. Bowen will be dangerous for them. Cham de Silva
Bees 3 Hull 1 If you’d have said at the end of the last campaign Hull would still have Bowen and Grosicki in their front 3 for the upcoming season, people would call you mad. As good as their attack remains they still give up big chances at the back on the road and I expect nothing to change here. Pontus, Watkins and Home league debut goal for Mbeumo. Eaves conciliation scuff for Tigers. David XG Anderson
A sneaky 1-0 win Hull’s impressive forward line are blunted by the bees newfound solidity at the back. Brentford no longer seem to be scoring for fun. Savvy Bee
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Hull fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
As you are probably well aware, Brentford is well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground.
The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans.
The Princess Royal and the newly-opened and renamed The Brook pub – which has jumped on the craft beer bandwagon – are the other options.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields. The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) by the away turnstiles.
There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave) – right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.
If you decide to get off at South Ealing station, we’ve heard a few people pop into Roddy’s Bar. Whereas The Ealing Park Tavern (back in the day, the infamous Penny Flyer) is fairly busy now that they seem to have lifted their “no football fan” policy.
If you like your craft beer, another fairly new pub worth checking out is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, which is fairly busy before and after the match.
There is a pub right by Brentford mainline station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
For real ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push.
The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super-adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge, and across from the site of the Bees’ new stadium at Lionel Road. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
There is also The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel. If you sit in the garden, you can see Brentford’s new stadium towering over you.
There are a load more pubs in the river in Kew if that takes your fancy – just take a walk down Strand On The Green.
A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many, many more too if you have a look around.
Parking near the stadium is a no no but is pretty easy in the streets north of Griffin Park on the other side of the A4 Great West Rd via Ealing Road or Windmill Road. Make sure you look our for the parking signs which change from area to area.
Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.
The reality is the tube is easier and quicker (and cheaper). It’s 35 minutes to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (even less from Paddington) on the Piccadilly Line and then 15 minutes walk to Griffin Park from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford
If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station (turn LEFT outside the station) to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops – 5 minutes).
If you get off at South Ealing, you can get the 65 from the bus stop across the road – right outside the station.
You can check out Transport for London’s Easter guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.
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