HULL City should surely have progressed since being revived under Nigel Adkins to such an extent that they comfortably avoided relegation last season when it looked like they were going down before he took charge in December.
Instead, the Tigers can be said to be treading water at best with 12 players having departed and only six brought in.
There is time for new recruits before the loan market closes at the end of the month but it seems Hull will lose another star player with Poland international Kamil Grosicki wanted by several Continental clubs.
A lack of recruits, stressed Jarrod Bowen, was not behind Hull’s poor performance against promoted Blackburn Rovers.
Bradley Dack, operating in the No 10 role which brought him 18 goals in 45 appearances last season, secured the visitors’ first Championship win of the season to crown Tony Mowbray’s 600th game in management.
The formations were a mirror image but it was Hull who were left needing to polish theirs.
We should all understand each other’s game. We need to be on the same wavelength. We know it is not good enough and the manager is like ourselves, frustrated.Jarrod Bowen
Bowen attracted plenty of interest after 15 goals in 44 games last season but is waiting to get off the mark this campaign as the Tigers seek their first league win.
The 21-year-old, now having to deal with being a marked man as he brings an attacking threat from the flank, admitted: “We weren’t good enough.
“We didn’t get on the front foot which we wanted to do and we were very sloppy in the final third. We were too slow and there was not enough playing our own game.
“We got forced to playing long balls, which we are not comfortable with. We want to play exciting, quick football with one-twos and all that kind of stuff. It did not work for us.
“We have to take a look at ourselves and take the blame for it. There is a game Tuesday to put it right which is a positive.”
As for the reason behind the defeat as the sides employed 4-2-3-1 set-ups, Bowen continued: “I don’t think you can use the excuse of the new signings we have. They have been together for four weeks now.
“We should all understand each other’s game. We need to be on the same wavelength. We know it is not good enough and the manager is like ourselves, frustrated. It’s a very poor start but there are a lot of games before the international break so we need to pick up points as quickly as we can.”
Of the need for fresh faces, Bowen said: “It’s down to the manager who he wants to sign to try and strengthen the squad.
“We are a small squad so we have all to be together and push each other. Ultimately, we all have the same goal and, hopefully, the size of the squad will not matter too much because we are all good football players so whatever the manager decides to do regarding new players is down to him.”
A trip to another promoted club, Rotherham, follows tomorrow and Hull will need David Marshall to continue the form he showed against Rovers.
Smart anticipation and saves denied Kasey Palmer, front man Adam Armstrong and Dack in the early stages – Bowen’s curling attempt being blocked by Charlie Mulgrew being Hull’s riposte.
But Marshall was beaten shortly before the break after Jon Toral had had to replace groggy Stephen Kingsley in the 29th minute following a clash of heads with Palmer. The left-back now undergoes concussion protocol.
Rovers struck in the 43rd when Elliott Bennett whipped in a cross from the right and Dack raced into the six-yard area to sidefoot home.
Hull enjoyed their best spell after the break when Australian international Jackson Irvine drove them forward from midfield.
He was making his first start of the season as was Angus MacDonald as injury ruled out Reece Burke and Daniel Batty.
Hull’s pressure came to nought and Rovers got back on the front foot, only to be again be thwarted by Marshall, who raced out to narrow the angle and push the ball aside as Armstrong outstripped the defence – Bennett hitting wide the follow-up.
Marshall then kept out former Tigers loanee Danny Graham’s six-yard header before David Raya matched that save with one from Jordy de Wijs’s header from Evandro’s late corner to prevent Hull pinching a point.
Hull City: Marshall, Lichaj, de Wijs, MacDonald, Kingsley (Toral 29); Henriksen, Irvine; Bowen (Milinkovic 72), Evandro, Kane; Campbell (Dicko 72). Unused substitutes: Long, Stewart, Keane, Curry.
Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell; Smallwood, Evans; Bennett, Dack (Graham 59), Palmer (Travis 67); Armstrong (Rothwell 78). Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Samuel, Downing, Conway.
Referee: D Coote (Notts).