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Hull City preview and pub guide: Can Brentford end Tigers hoodoo?

Hull City preview and pub guide: Can Brentford end Tigers hoodoo?
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Hull City have had a really mixed season so far – going from possible relegation candidates to possible play-off contenders in the space of just over a couple of months.

When they lost 1-0 at Bristol City towards the end of October, the Tigers were one place off the bottom of the table after 14 matches – ahead of Ipswich only on goal difference.

However, 13 games later in early January, their 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday took them up to 10th place – only four points adrift of the play-off places.

That sequence included 10 wins, including five in a row from December into January starting with the victory over us, two draws and only one defeat.

Hull have had a little wobble since then, with one win, two draws and two defeats in their following five matches, but they have held on to 12th place and banished all relegation fears – even though they now trail the play-off spots by nine points.

Last season was a disappointing one for the Tigers following relegation from the Premier League, and after spending the campaign in the bottom half of the table, they eventually finished 18th – comfortably clear of the relegation places.

Hull have bobbed about between the Premier League and the Championship since winning promotion as League One runners-up in 2005, with five seasons in the top flight in that time.

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Nigel Adkins signed an 18-month contract when he took over in December 2017.

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Adkins had been out of the game since leaving Sheffield United at the end of the 2015/16 season.

He was previously in charge of Southampton, who he led from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, and Reading, having started his managerial career at Scunthorpe, where he took charge after previously being the club physio.

As a player, Adkins was a goalkeeper for Tranmere, Wigan and Bangor, where he became player-manager.

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Brentford’s recent record against Hull is poor and in five Championship meetings, we have only picked up a solitary point.

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.

Last season, 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 this season’s 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.

Our last meaningful league win over Hull came way back in September 1998 in Division Three (now League Two) at Boothferry Park, when goals from Lloyd Owusu, Warren Aspinall and Andy Scott gave us a 3-2 victory, with Matt Hocking and Neil Whitworth replying. Hull won the Griffin Park return 2-0.

We met again in League One in 2004/05, with the Tigers winning 2-0 on our first visit to the KCOM Stadium – and although we did triumph 2-1 in the return, it was the final match of the season with Hull already promoted and the Bees making many changes before embarking on another failed play-off campaign.

We did beat them in the second round of the Carabao Cup in 2010/11, with Robbie Simpson and Marcus Bean scoring for us in a 2-1 win after Mark Cullen had given our Championship visitors the lead.

OPPOSITION VIEW

BBC Radio Humberside sports editor David Burns (Burnsy) analyses Hull’s mixed season so far, looks at the job Nigel Adkins has done in his time at the club and names the men to watch in the Tigers’ side.

Q – It’s been a real up-and-down season for Hull so far, what brought about the amazing upturn in form in the middle of the campaign?

A – I think the manager’s belief and confidence in his own methods and his trust in those around him has been the big factor in turning the season round.  I’ll be honest, his unwavering positivity when things were going badly earlier in the season got on my wires, but he stayed true to his belief and it’s paid off, so hats off to him.

The players have bought into what he’s been doing and his management of Kamil Grosicki from “I want away” to “I want to stay” player has been very impressive as has Grosicki.

Q – Despite the slight recent wobble, what do you think are the chances of the Tigers sneaking into the play-offs?

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A – The loss at Derby and then the flop at home to Rotherham (2-0 up and cruising at half-time to 2-2 and struggling at full-time) has dampened any expectation but I’ve still not activated the cancellation clause on my Wembley hotel  for the play-offs.

They are capable of putting five or six wins on the bounce together as they’ve shown recently and they still have to play eight of the teams above them so the chance is still there, if looking a tad unlikely.

Q – After lots of off-field conflict between fans and owners, what has the atmosphere been like in that area this season?

A – The disconnect is still there but it’s become more apathy rather than anger and people have voted with their feet by staying away in numbers. They would get people back if they reintroduced concession prices, but there will be those who won’t return until the club is sold, which still looks some way off.

Q – How good a job has Nigel Adkins done since arriving at the club and what sort of manager is he?

A – I’ve always been an admirer of Nigel, you don’t get Scunthorpe promoted (twice) to the Championship without being a decent manager. He’s good with people at all levels, he’s enthusiastic and he’s always striving to improve himself, his staff and his players.

I think he’s done an excellent job in what have not been harmonious circumstances and against a background of belt-tightening.  Other clubs will be noting those Scunny (and Southampton) promotions and the job he’s done with Hull. After his spells at Reading and Sheffield United, this has restored his reputation.

Q – Ex-Bee Jon Toral has barely featured this season – has he been out of favour or out injured?

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A – I’m afraid Jon Toral has had a succession of injury problems. There’s talent in there but I’d be asking for robustness and consistency on his next list to Santa.

Q – What style of play can Bees fans expect to see from Hull on Saturday and who are the main players who Bees fans should watch out for?

A – They like to play football, maybe not as much as Brentford  but the main threat comes from Bowen and Grosicki the wide men. Grosicki has pace to burn (he’s known as Turbo), while Bowen, with 16 goals so far, won’t be at this level for much longer.

Q – Finally can you tell me a likely Hull line-up and formation please?

A – The team line-up will be dependent on whether De Wijs is fit.

I’ll go for Marshall in goal.

Lichaj, Burke, Ridgewell, Kingsley.

Stewart, Henriksen, Irivine

Bowen, Campbell, Grosicki.

BEESOTTED SCORE PREDICTIONS

Some of the Beesotted crew have given me their score predictions for Saturday’s game.

3-0 home win as Brentford finally find the form and confidence to beat their bogey team. Greville Waterman

A tough 2-1 win for the Bees Won’t be easy as Hull seem to have some hold over us, but the players and management won’t want the season to just tail off. Liberal Nick

1-1 The big Nick Proschwitz derby ends in a score draw as the Bees rebuild momentum leading up to the annual destruction of QPR. Lou Boyd

3-2 win for Brentford with exciting players on both sides – Bowen, Grosicki, Benrahma and Maupay – all scoring. Cham De Silva

2-2 Bees rue missed chances as Hull steal a point. Gerry the cabbie

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook

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 Royal Oak are the other options.

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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.

And another new pub worth checking out is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road.

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, with a deck overlooking the river – and The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel. There are a load more pubs in the river in Kew if that takes your fancy.

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.

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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.

By tube, it’s 35 minutes to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (less from Paddington) and then 15 minutes walk to Griffin Park from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford pub crawl outlined above (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe, Griffin) of course. If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops).

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.

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About The Author

Ian Westbrook

Bees fan since 1971 - been through all the ups and downs. Written about, reported on, commentated on and wittered on about all things Brentford in that time as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands of games, and loved every minute of it!

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