DEAN WINDASS, the home-grown hero who ended Hull City's 104-year wait for top-flight football, could be heading for the exit door after revealing his frustration at playing only a bit-part this season.
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After being restricted to just 31 minutes on the field in the opening five games of the Tigers' Premier League adventure, he was not even on the bench in last Sunday's draw at home to Everton.
The 39-year-old, whose spectacular volleyed goal in last May's play-off final clinched City's promotion from the Championship, is well down the pecking order at the KC Stadium with Phil Brown having selected a host of strikers ahead of the former Bradford City striker this term.
Windass admitted it "hurt like hell" not to be in the 18-man squad to face Everton and plans to sit down and discuss his future with manager Phil Brown this week.
He said: "These are strange times for me at the club I love as, however much I am enjoying seeing Hull City play in the Premier League, I am getting more and more frustrated about not being involved.
"It looked even bleaker on Sunday when I wasn't even named on the bench for the 2-2 draw with Everton. It was the first time in 18 years that I had been fit but wasn't involved and it hurt like hell.
"I have got a meeting with manager Phil Brown this week to discuss my future and if he tells me that this is the way it is going to be then I will have to consider my options.
"I am not one of these footballlers who doesn't mind picking up a cheque every week for not playing and I also don't want to train every day and then end up taking the dog for a walk on a Saturday.
"At the start of the season, the manager made positive noises about me saying I had a role at the club this season and I want to see if this is still the case.
"If not, then fine. But tell me and I will go and play somewhere else."
Windass made an impassioned plea to be more involved after his cameo from the bench in the 5-0 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic a little over three weeks ago.
After scoring in the previous Tuesday's Carling Cup defeat at Swansea City, he had been expecting to start due to Marlon King being unable to play due to the terms of his loan deal.
Instead, Brown opted to promote Caleb Folan from the bench to partner Geovanni with Windass having to be content with his 100th appearance in the Premier League coming from the bench with City already 2-0 down.
Immediately after that defeat to the Latics, the veteran striker insisted he wanted to stay and fight for his place but, with his 40th birthday a little over seven months away, it seems his attitude has now hardened.
He said: "I have always said I would like to carry on playing until I was 42 and I still think it can be with Hull City in the Premier League.
"But it is the manager's opinion that counts the most and if he tells me differently I will accept it and move on.
"It was a strange experience watching the game in a suit on Sunday with people coming up to me asking me if I was injured. I was willing the boys to do well and I was delighted when we went 2-0 up but it would have been even better if I had been involved."
If Windass does become available, there are likely to be a host of clubs chasing the signature of a striker who finished last season as City's joint top scorer with a tally of 15 league and cup goals.
Windass returned to Hull in January 2007 on loan from Bradford City and after scoring the goals that kept the club in the Championship, he signed a two-year deal at the KC Stadium the following summer.
On his immediate future, the Tigers striker said: "Next up it is a trip to Arsenal for the lads and no-one outside the city will be expecting us to get anything from the Emirates.
"But if we go looking to win and with a plan to do more than just defend, we may be able to sneak a point. Whether I will be involved or not is another question."
Hull manager Brown insists he understands Windass' frustration but has reminded the veteran striker he still has responsibilities "off the park".
Brown is yet to discuss the matter with Windass but insists the player still has a part to play, even though he is now behind the likes of new signings Marlon King, Daniel Cousin and Geovanni in the pecking order.
Brown said: "I haven't spoken to Dean, but I spoke to his agent at length yesterday and we see eye to eye.
"I know exactly how Dean Windass thinks, how he feels. Rightly so, he is not happy, but I wouldn't expect him to be.
"If I have got a player walking around as the 20th man, 24-25th man, and they are happy, I'd be questioning why.
"But in terms of commitment, every time he goes out on the training field, he is one million percent. In terms of selection, if I threw him in tomorrow, he'd be one million percent.
"But he has a part to play off the park, and that's a leadership quality you only get in certain people. He has to understand he still has a part to play."
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