THIS ISN’T how the season was supposed to be panning out, even allowing for a summer of recruitment that was sluggish at best until the final month of the transfer window.
Ten games into Leonid Slutsky’s reign and City sit 17th in the table with just nine points.
A concerted push for automatic promotion may have been asking a bit much following the upheaval in personnel that followed relegation but few surely expected the Tigers to be far closer to the relegation zone than the top six.
Michael Dawson, the club’s captain, certainly didn’t envisage the return to the Championship being so difficult.
“This is probably the most frustrating time I have had here,” said the Tigers captain, who is in his fourth season at the KCOM Stadium.
“This is not where we want to be. We know that. But we are here and need to now show an awful lot of character to climb up that table.”
With the next international break looming, City need a positive result this weekend when Birmingham City head to the East Riding.
To end the club’s five-game winless run, however, the individual errors that have characterised Hull’s play for much of the campaign will have to be eradicated.
“Whenever we make a mistake we seem to be being punished for it,” added Dawson. “There are a lot of young lads here who are finding out the hard way what the Championship is all about.
“I have been that young lad. You go home when losing and it isn’t easy. Make a mistake and win, you get away with it. But when you lose, you come under scrutiny and people are looking and asking questions.
This is probably the most frustrating time I have had here. This is not where we want to be. We know that.Hull City captain, Michael Dawson
“This is a team that came down from the Premier League and more is expected.”
Tuesday night’s defeat to Preston North End saw seven summer signings in the starting XI with another coming off the bench.
“Patience is key,” Dawson added. “We are not a million miles away but things are not just falling for us at the moment.
“There are new faces in the dressing room and when you get together for the first time the aim is to get off to a good start.
“That hasn’t happened but there is a long way to go in this league.”
One of the rare positives for Hull this season has been the form of 20-year-old striker Jarrod Bowen, who committed his future to the club by signing a new contract that will keep him at the KCOM until 2020.
Bowen is joint-leading goalscorer with six this season and won the EFL Young Player of the Month AWard for August.
“Jarrod has been a very important player for us so far this season, and he is also a player with the potential to improve even further,” said head coach Slutsky.
Bowen, who signed from non-league Hereford in 2014, made his first-team debut last season. He added: “The last couple of months have been brilliant for me personally, but I know that I have to continue to improve my game and I am looking forward to doing that here.”