Starting into their Premiership season last term, the Tigers were out and running quick, looking to finish well into the top half of the table and even challenge for Europe. Though this was the case early, the rest of the season for Hull saw them fail miserably at times and have difficulty against all opponents, avoiding relegation by one full point on the final day of the season. The Tigers have had a lot to do this summer to repair the ship and add players in the right places to help keep them afloat again this season. Most are predicting Hull to not have such a wonderful sophomore season, and I am no different, as I have pegged them to finish 19th. Manager Phil Brown is leading the sack race in the preseason and the additions to the side have been slow going as Hull have just really brought in some new signings in the past week. All this said though, I still do not see a promising outcome for the Tigers this season.
Key Additions: Steven Mouyokolo (Boulogne), Seyi Olofinjana (Stoke), Jozy Altidore (loan from Villareal), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Kamel Ghilas (Celta Vigo)
Loss: Samuel Ricketts (Bolton)
There are still rumors of Hull signing Real Madrid starlet Negredo, but as with other sides in the Premiership who have interest in the youngster, I will believe it when I see it. The only additions that have any sort of experience at this level are Olofinjana with Stoke and Hunt from his time with Reading. These two are the older of the signings, both just short of 30, so look for them to provide some veteran leadership on the squad going forward. Mouyokolo is unproven at this level, having come from a lower division French side, but look for him to show in the Tiger’s defense this term. Ghilas and Altidore both ply their trade up top and Hull will be looking for the two youngsters to produce and produce early as one of the Tiger’s weaknesses last season was production from their forwards. Unless Brown gets sacked early enough for a decent manager to come in and turn the club around I do not see my prediction in any danger. Hull will meet relegation this season, but how they do it will be the interesting part to watch.
Premiership new boys Burnley have a lot on their plate this term. Having come through the playoff to gain promotion, the side is no stranger to hard roads, but does a hard road in the Championship prepare them well enough for the Premier League? I think not, although I have come to wonder if maybe this side might do a bit better than I originally predicted. Manager Owen Coyle has managed to make his boys work, having played spoiler to a few Premier League sides in last season’s FA Cup and Carling Cup, before bowing out in the end of both to Premiership sides. The Clarets will be looking to hang on in the Premiership at the first asking, but the road is going to be hard and the hill to climb out of the relegation zone will be steep. I know I have predicted them dead last, but look for this young side to show some promise, if for nothing else but the future of the club. Coyle has brought a few new faces into the club without losing much, so there should not be many changes in what was a decent Championship side last season.
Key Additions: Fernando Guerrero Vasquez (loan from Independiente del Valle), Richard Eckersley (Manchester United), Brian Easton (Hamilton), David Edgar (Newcastle United), Steven Fletcher (Hibernian)
The only loss the side suffered was a loan of Alexander MacDonald to Falkirk in Scotland. Vasquez is another young talent for Coyle, coming out of Real Madrid’s youth system. He should provide some in the attack, though he looks slight and maybe not physical enough for the English game. Fletcher is the other front man the Clarets have brought in this offseason, and though he is young he has seen some time in Scotland and should be ready for a bit more physicality up top than Vasquez will be at the start. Bolstering up the defense was the key this offseason though, having brought in 3 defenders out of the 5 total transfers negotiated. Coyle has made this side work for him in the Championship, but the lack of age could either prove genius or costly, and I for one am betting on costly at the moment. Coyle is not Wenger and Burnley hardly have the youth talent of an Arsenal, but being young and determined can have its advantages too. If nothing else Burnley should be an entertaining side to watch this season, though I will not be expecting to seem them around more than the one season before the drop back down.