PINPOINTING why Hull City can be found in the lower echelons of the Championship table right now is not difficult with one point from four games on the road and three straight defeats.
The Tigers’ away form is poor, and totally at odds with a record at the KCOM Stadium that has seen seven points taken from the opening quartet of fixtures and 11 goals scored.
Struggles outside the East Riding are nothing new, of course, with Hull’s current winless run standing at 22 league games. Of those, 19 ended in defeat with supporters who follow their side around the country not having had three points to celebrate since August 20 last year, when goals from Abel Hernandez and Shaun Maloney were enough to beat Swansea City.
Manager Leonid Slutsky’s task, therefore, is to end that wretched record and give those long-suffering fans something to cheer – starting with the trip to Reading today.
To do so, the Russian admits, Hull need to display a different mindset to the four away performances under his charge.
“In away matches, especially, it may be a mental problem because each (away) team tries to play deep. I must change this mentality,” said Slutsky, who has seen his side beaten at Queens Park Rangers, Derby County and Fulham since taking a point off Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa on the opening day.
In away matches, especially, it may be a mental problem because each (away) team tries to play deep. I must change this mentalityHull City head coach, Leonid Slutsky
“We have started to play, but only after we concede a goal. The match against Fulham, we equalised in the second half and had clear chances to score again (before losing 2-1).
“It is a mentality situation. I try to change this moment and I think if we can change this it would be good for us.”
Today may offer a decent chance to end that barren away run with Reading displaying clear signs of suffering from a play-off hangover following last May’s defeat on penalties to Huddersfield Town at Wembley.
The Royals sit 18th in the table with eight points from seven games, one place behind Hull albeit with a game in hand.
Slutsky added: “I think Aston Villa, especially second half, QPR, Fulham, in each match we had chances to win the game.
“Even Derby, 5-0, an unbelievable result, we had chances. Statistically we played better than Derby, but that’s not important when you see the score. In the home matches you have another mentality and our opponents play more defensively. For every team a home match is easier than an away match, but I will try and change our mentality.”