Hull City v Ipswich Town: Fraizer Campbell welcomes seasoned additions at Tigers

A Strong backbone of hardened Championship experience has been at the core of every successful Hull City side at this level in years gone by.

Hull City's Evandro Goebel (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the season with Fraizer Campbell. Since then the campaign has gone downhill for Hull (Picture: PA)

It is something for which one of their current elder statesmen in Fraizer Campbell, who turned 31 on Thursday, can vouch.

The Yorkshireman will fondly recall those halcyon days in his first spell with the amber-and-black in that momentous 2007-08 campaign when senior professionals such as Dean Windass, Ian Ashbee, Andy Dawson and Wayne Brown imposed their sheer will and force of personality upon the dressing room and set the standards for the ‘young uns’ like Campbell to follow.

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Now, a decade older and used to early starts on the school run being in marked contrast to that carefree youngster who used to get out of bed ten minutes before training – in his words – Campbell is one of the voices who others now listen to, and therefore a pillar of responsibility.

Extra voices of seniority are always welcomed to spread the message and the loan addition of the experienced duo of Tommy Elphick and Chris Martin – who know the second-tier like the back of their hand – has also been well received by a Tigers squad in need of direction.

Following the summer departures of the likes of Michael Dawson, David Meyler, Allan McGregor and Seb Larsson, the pair’s arrival is timely.

More especially given the Tigers’ difficult start to the season, which has all the portents of being another attritional one in which leadership will be vital in ensuring the club steer clear of relegation trouble.

For many in the shoes of senior forward Campbell, the arrival of another been-around-the-block Championship forward in Martin – who has joined from Derby County on a season-long loan – might provoke mixed feelings.

Fraizer Campbell, of Hull City. (Picture: James Hardisty)

But while Martin may represent a clear threat to Campbell’s starting place, the forward takes a different slant on his signing.

“Personally, I enjoy that. It is another man and someone with quality,” said Campbell, as Hull look to end a run of six straigh defeats at the KCOM Stadium.

“You want as much quality in the team as possible and if that kicks you out of the team, you have got to train a bit harder.

“Hopefully for me and the rest of the forwards in the team, it gives us that bit of a warning that everyone’s place is up for grabs and hopefully that will increase standards in training.

Fraizer Campbell in action earlier this season against Sheffield Wednesday (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“Chris and Tommy have got experience and are good quality players who have been around the Championship for a while. That, in any team, will boost the squad.

“It is great to have the them in and they have fitted in perfectly and are having a laugh and a joke.

“Hopefully, they can play a big part in our season.

“I have played against them in the past and know people who know them who say they are good guys. It is always nice to have that blend of youth and experience to help. We have been there before, so we can guide the young lads. It is getting that balance.

“There is a lot of young lads in the team. Batts (Daniel Batty) was born in 1997 which is scary, I don’t know what I was doing in ‘97.”

The soothsayers may venture that looking at the league table in mid-September is a foolish exercise, but the sight of a Hull side just above the relegation zone after one win in their opening six Championship matches immediately draws attention.

Two places below them are second-from-bottom Ipswich Town, another side whose need for the relieving balm of a win or two is all too obvious, even accounting for the fact that the 
season is just a month and a half old.

For Hull, the talk on the grapevine is of another stressful year when the club’s players must don the combat fatigues to keep the Tigers on an even keel and away from trouble at the foot of the table – and it is an assumption that Campbell is not dismissing.

Neither is he underplaying the importance of this afternoon’s events against another side in desperate need of a victory for their own sense of well-being.

The statistics bear testament to that with Ipswich Town without a league win this season, with their last success coming back on April 28.

On the prospect of another tough season, Campbell observed: “If that is how it pans out, you have got to be prepared for that.

“The squad have played quite well and we played really well in the last game and got nothing from it.

“We are a new team of players and it is hopefully finding that click quickly and turning those good performances into points.

“Winning against teams who are in and around you is probably where you are going to 
survive if you are in one of those battles.

“But every game is big and you go into it trying to win.

“If you are not consistent in this league, you are in big trouble.”