Hull City v Blackburn Rovers: First domino to fall is key to Hull’s transfer business

Hull City head coach Nigel Adkins. (Picture: James Hardisty)
Hull City head coach Nigel Adkins. (Picture: James Hardisty)
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AS Hull continues to bask in the glow of last weekend’s dominoes spectacular that brought around 30,000 people into the city centre, Nigel Adkins is still waiting for his own transfer business to fall into place.

Today marks exactly a month since City last made George Long their sixth and, so far, last signing of the summer.

In the immediate aftermath of Long’s arrival from Sheffield United, Adkins revealed at least another four new faces were wanted.

As yet, however, none have materialised with Oliver Norwood, the subject of four unsuccessful bids from the Tigers, this week the latest target to go elsewhere by moving from Brighton & Hove Albion to Bramall Lane.

Adkins admits he is not expecting any new arrivals before Tuesday’s visit to Rotherham United.

But, perhaps fittingly a week on from the memorable sight of 12,000 blocks being toppled one by one through the streets of Hull in the first large scale event since last year’s City of Culture, the Tigers could be about to benefit from the type of “domino effect” that can unlock the transfer market.

Reece Burke, right, is a doubt for Hull City today (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage)

Reece Burke, right, is a doubt for Hull City today (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage)

“We have until the 31st,” said Adkins, who is understood to have been tracking Middlesbrough duo Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson. “That is deadline day.

“We have been working very hard. We need to bring players in and that is a fact. That is our intention.

“But what I don’t want to do is something for the sake of it.

“There are bids on the table – loan deals we want to make permanent.

There are bids on the table – loan deals we want to make permanent. There are two players we have tracked for a long period of time.

Nigel Adkins

“For example, there are two players we have tracked for a long period of time.

“But until business is done at their club, they can’t come out. You see that domino effect each year.”

City’s transfer woes may have continued but, on the pitch, it has been an encouraging week for the club.

A battling point at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday as all those dominoes were being toppled back home in Hull was followed by a midweek return to the Steel City for a tough-looking Carabao Cup first-round tie against United.

Chris Wilder, Adkins’ successor at the Lane, opted for a strong starting XI as City had to draft in a trio of Academy players with today’s home clash with Blackburn Rovers in mind.

Despite that, Hull prevailed on penalties at the end of a pulsating tie. Building on that hugely-encouraging performance and result is now key going into back-to-back games inside four days against two of the newly-promoted clubs.

“The performances have been good,” said Adkins, whose side lost to Aston Villa in their opening fixture. “We have gone ahead (in all three games), we have scored good goals, we have looked dynamic in our movement and we have passed the ball well.

“I would have liked to have to won all three games so far. I wanted to win at Sheffield Wednesday but we drew. But then we went to Sheffield United and won on penalties.”

Asked if losing the lead in all three games this term was a concern, the Hull chief replied: “No. We conceded a goal against Sheffield Wednesday, when it was not a penalty in my eyes. That changed the complexion.

“Sheffield United got a head of steam up (late on in the Cup) but we won the tie. The Aston Villa game had a lot of good things and even after the mistakes we responded well. We were still strong.”

As the search for new faces continues, Adkins’ focus today is on a club finally on the up again after some difficult years under controversial owners.

“We know this is going to be a tough game against Blackburn Rovers,” said the Tigers chief. “Tony Mowbray has gone in and got them promoted from League One and they have got a spirit.

“They have got good players with big threats. Danny Graham and Bradley Dack in their front line are good players.

“They play really good, effective football with a manager who’s experienced it all.

“Blackburn are in a good place having been on a slippery slope. They have got an experienced English manager who knows what it is all about.

“He has steadied the ship and got the right characters in his team and the right culture in the club.

“They are doing well and they will do very well this season. This will be tough. We are well aware that they are a good side. They do all the things you need to do and they do it very well.”