ADAM PEARSON last night confirmed Hull City want Nick Barmby to become their permanent manager.
But the Tigers’ director of football operations has also stressed the club are comfortable with waiting for the former England international to signal when he is ready to make the step up.
Barmby has been in temporary charge of the Tigers since Nigel Pearson quit last month to return to Leicester City.
Since then, the 37-year-old has overseen an impressive run of form that has yielded 15 points from seven games to power Hull up the Championship table to fourth.
Such an impressive run of results has led to a clamour from Hull fans for their hometown hero to take over on a permanent basis.
The question has also started increasingly to dominate Barmby’s pre- and post-match press conferences in recent weeks.
Barmby, though, has steadfastly refused to be drawn on the subject, instead insisting that the matter is on hold until the new year due to him wanting to concentrate on the festive programme.
It is a stance the club hierarchy, who are due to sit down with Barmby on Friday for a routine meeting, are happy to accept, especially at a time of the season that is traditionally among the busiest.
Director of football operations Pearson said: “We are comfortable with how things are going.
“Nick is doing a very good job and the atmosphere around the club and training ground is great.
“There is a real sense of togetherness that Nick has fostered along with a desire to be successful.
“The club wants Nick to stay and he seems to be enjoying the role so we will see what happens in the future.”
The arrangement whereby Barmby took charge on a caretaker basis following Nigel Pearson’s abrupt departure was agreed by all parties in November as the best way forward.
Having served under so many managers during a playing career now in its 20th season, Barmby knew more than most the pitfalls that come with the job so was keen to get a feel for it on his own terms.
However, with Hull having adapted so well, the clamour soon began building for the position to be made a permanent one.
Pearson, who pulled off the coup of bringing Barmby back to Hull in 2004 when the club were in League One, said: “Football these days probably isn’t tuned into something like this.
“Usually, the norm is if a manager gets a couple of results then he is appointed immediately.
“But Nick said right from the very start when he took the job on a temporary basis that he wanted to do it his way.
“He wants to do everything right and the club is happy to do the same.”
Barmby’s reign started on a winning note as goals from Matty Fryatt and Cameron Stewart were enough to seal a 2-0 triumph at Derby County on November 19.
A week later, two more strikes from Fryatt looked to have earned another three points only for Burnley to score three times in the final 12 minutes and claim an unexpected 3-2 win.
A 2-1 defeat at leaders Southampton followed in midweek – defeat coming again after Hull had gone ahead, this time through Robert Koren.
However, any fears the departure of Nigel Pearson might have de-railed Hull’s season were then swept away by four straight wins.
The first of those was perhaps the sweetest, certainly in the eyes of supporters, as Pearson’s Leicester were beaten 2-1 at the KC Stadium.
Further victories against Birmingham City, Coventry City and Millwall mean the Tigers will go into Christmas in fourth place and just four points adrift of West Ham United in the second automatic promotion spot.
Adam Pearson said: “Personally, I think he has done a great job. Even when we lost those two games against Burnley and Southampton in a few days, I felt things were progressing well.
“I feel Nick has proved to be a natural in that he handles everything in his own style.
“He isn’t someone who rants or raves for effect or shouts and bawls. He just gets on with the job. We do have a meeting this Friday when the owners will sit down with Nick and myself to discuss how things are going. Everyone is very pleased.”
Hull travel to third-placed Middlesbrough on Boxing Day and then Burnley on New Year’s Eve.
Pearson added: “What has been particular pleasing is how the players have been playing with a sense of freedom and it is clear to anyone who has seen our recent games that they are playing for Nick.
“I also think people shouldn’t forget just how much disruption was caused by the change of manager last month.
“We lost nine or 10 members of our backroom team, which would be potentially disrupting to any club. The danger is that the players left behind can feel there is a bit of a vacuum at the top. But Nick, together with Gary Walsh, Steve Wigley and Stuart Watkiss, have done a tremendous job and it is great to see such a hard-working group working together for Hull City.”