Hull City v Stoke City: Snodgrass backing Moses to overcome adversity

JUST another week in the often turbulent world of Hull City.

Tigers' Moses Odubajo.

A chastening defeat to Bournemouth that was every bit as emphatic as the 6-1 scoreline suggests got things off to a dreadful start.

Then came news that highly-rated full-back Andrew Robertson was out for up to eight weeks, closely followed by revelations from the Far East that one of several parties bidding to take charge of the Tigers had formally notified the Hong Kong Stock Exchange of their intention to complete a £130m takeover.

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As it turned out, this joint venture between Greater China Professional Services and Camsing Global is some way off agreeing a deal. The Yorkshire Post understands due diligence by this group has only just begun, meaning they trail at least two other bidders who already have that process well under way.

Still, confirmation of another interested party caused social media to go into meltdown on Tuesday night as fans clamoured for the latest update.

By the end of the week, those same supporters were digesting the wretched news that Moses Odubajo had suffered a second serious knee injury inside three months and was more than likely out for the season.

All in all, therefore, a tough week for all at the KCOM Stadium. Robert Snodgrass, though, insists the players can help lift some of the gloom today with victory over fellow strugglers Stoke City.

“It has been a difficult few days,” said the Scotland international. “We let ourselves down, massively at Bournemouth. That was one of the lowest we have had since I came here. We have worked far too hard to get here to put in performances like that.

“But, as a team, we got promoted and, as a team, we beat Leicester and Swansea. So, as a team, we take that defeat.

“We don’t want to go backwards. We want to put things right, hopefully starting with a good result against Stoke.”

Snodgrass, of course, knows all about the frustrations of suffering serious injury. He missed 15 months after dislocating his kneecap on the opening day of the 2014-15 season.

So, he can empathise with the dejection that Odubajo will be feeling after fracturing his kneecap earlier this week during a non-contact training session.

“I am absolutely gutted for Moses because he has worked so hard,” said Snodgrass. “He was so close to getting back.

“I speak to Moses all the time. I know it is a lonely place when injured. Sometimes you put on that front, that you are part of the squad. But, when all the lads are going out to train, you are the last one in there.

“Instead, you are going to the swimming pool to do your stuff and then going home. It is very tough. When I heard the news, it brought back loads of memories.

“But, if anyone can get through it, it is him. He is a great professional and all the lads really like him. Everyone is gutted.

“I have spoken to Moses and try to give him some advice on which way it will go. But this is a test of character because he is having to go through everything again.

“Football is cruel sometimes. Everything isn’t plain sailing as a footballer. It doesn’t matter what age you are, or what physical stature you have got, injuries just creep up on you and you have to deal with it.

“I can only wish him all the best with his recovery. I have been there, it is not nice. Same for Andy Robertson. They are two young lads who have done terrific for the club.”

This week’s double injury blow means City are without a recognised senior full-back in the squad. For the opening two months, Ahmed Elmohamady, primarily a winger who can also play at wing-back, has been filling in on the right side of a back four.

Michael Dawson’s return to fitness does provide the possibility of City switching to a three-man defence, a move that would suit Elmohamady. But, if the back four is retained then the Egyptian will have to continue in that role, at least until January.

As for the other flank, Mike Phelan will turn to either Sam Clucas or teenager Josh Tymon for today’s game with a Stoke side who Hull have already beaten this season in the League Cup.

Regardless of who replaces Robertson, Hull must respond in the right manner to last weekend’s embarrassing defeat at Dean Court.

It was the worst possible way for Phelan to start his reign in permanent charge and Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant certainly made his feelings known to the Tigers players in the away dressing room at the final whistle.

“He has got an angry side,” said Snodgrass about Phelan, who today must outwit former team-mate Mark Hughes in the away dugout. “We had seen that as an assistant manager.

“You don’t get to the very top without having that. He demands a high level of performance, which he believes is right for the football club.

“You don’t get sloppy, or above your station. You can’t think: ‘That’s us in the Premier League, everything’s fine’.

“We are not that type anyway. We have got a hard, honest bunch and we let ourselves down massively (last weekend). Confidence is always going to be hit after losing six goals.

“The only thing you can do is go back to the training ground and work even harder. Bournemouth were terrific. Fair play to the manager down there (Eddie Howe), he has got them playing some brilliant football.

“But if we want to stay in this league, that is the level we need to get to as a team. We have got lads who will run through a brick wall for you. We have to soak in what has happened this week and make sure we deliver on the next few occasions.”