MANAGER Nigel Adkins will sit down today with the Hull City hierarchy to plan the club’s strategy for the January transfer window.
The Tigers have struggled on their return to the Championship and sit just four points above the relegation zone going into the final game of 2017.
A contributing factor to that struggle has been an imbalanced squad, with Abel Hernandez’s ruptured Achilles and Fraizer Campbell’s on-going fitness issues leaving just Nouha Dicko and Adama Diomande available up front over the festive season.
Likewise, Hull’s defensive resources have been stretched at times this term – a point underlined by the East Riding club having conceded 41 times in 24 Championship outings.
Adkins, who will take charge of his fifth game tomorrow when Fulham visit the KCOM Stadium, has conducted a full assessment of the squad and admits there are key areas that need to be strengthened.
“I have got a meeting (this afternoon) and we will decide what we are doing at the start of the window,” said the 52-year-old.
“You always talk about whether you can get a striker. I look at us defensively and if we need to get another centre-half in. You look at flair and do you need to get a wide player? So there is three positions to start off with (to strengthen).
“Likewise, we are trying to get a continuity with team selection, with everyone understanding what they are doing, because you don’t want to be chopping and changing every five minutes.
“Sometimes you can have too many players who don’t feel as though they have got a part to play. The spirit is excellent, but the January window is an opportunity to strengthen.”
A year ago, Hull enjoyed a hugely fruitful transfer window as new head coach Marco Silva remodelled a failing squad by sanctioning the sale of Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass for a combined £20m to finance a host of new signings.
The Portuguese’s wheeling and dealing almost paid off, Hull having looked firmly on course to stay in the Premier League until a costly home defeat to Sunderland in early May.
What last January’s recruitment cannot mask, however, is just how horribly the club have got it wrong in the last two summer windows.
In 2016, Hull were the last of the 92 senior clubs in English football to make a signing while last summer the holes left by a host of big-name departures were largely filled by loans and players unfamiliar with the demands of the Championship.
The upshot has been the imbalance that Adkins is looking to rectify once the window opens on Monday.
“When it goes to negotiation I think you will find the owner does it here and I don’t get involved in the finances as I don’t need to,” said the Tigers’ chief when asked about how he the club’s recruitment process will work in January. “But I will be involved in the conversations (about who the club signs), that is massively important.
“We have had a conversation already and it has been very positive between me and the owner, and (Hull’s head of recruitment) Lee Darnbrough on the recruitment side. Communication is important.”
Amid the flurry of departures that saw the likes of Harry Maguire, Sam Clucas, Andy Robertson and Tom Huddlestone move on, Kamil Grosicki’s presence in East Yorkshire come September 1 was a surprise. Not least to the man himself, as the Polish winger made clear when on international duty a few days later.
“I am disappointed that my agents didn’t do what they promised me,” said Grosicki, an £8m signing by Silva, after revealing how Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Fiorentina had all been in talks with his representatives over a possible transfer.
Considering his willingness to go public last September, Grosicki’s future has the potential to dominate Hull’s window.
Asked about his five-goal winger, Adkins opted to speak generally about his squad. “I have had one-on-ones with everyone and they are all totally focused on staying,” he said.
“The attitude has been top drawer. It has been spot on. We will all see during the course of January that bids will be made for players and bids won’t be made.
“Players will want to go, players will want to stay. At the moment, I can only highlight that the attitude of the players has been top drawer. No one has shown any indication whatsoever that they are looking to leave.”
Grosicki missed training yesterday along with Jon Toral and both men are doubtful for the clash with Fulham.
Will Keane, the striker who has missed the past 13 months after suffering a serious knee injury, did join in with the first team yesterday as his recovery took an important step forward.
He is still at least a month away from a possible return to action, but Adkins said: “It is great to see a centre forward with the physical prowess he has got.”