A perfect end to a brilliant week saw the Tigers take all three points against Manchester City, and for once the pundits were not talking about “plucky” Hull City and the clichés about punching above our weight were absent.
Instead the acknowledgement was that City had outplayed the visitors to build on the performance against Premier League front-runners Chelsea.
We are doing well in a very tough League and now lie in fourteenth having only lost at Walton Street once since September, and that was to Manchester United. We are in better shape than this time last year and if we can get some results away from the Circle which we have made a fortress then our place should be secure for next season.
But this is Hull City that we are talking about. Doing things conventionally is not our style.
Time for some player analysis.
Bo Myhill: heroics in the Spurs game where he had the match of his life mean he will retain the shirt ahead of Matt Duke, but a fumble at Old Trafford cost a goal and his flap near the end of this game nearly let the visitors net an undeserved equaliser. He needs to command his area in the way Duke does to complement his brilliant shot stopping.
Paul McShane: the Irishman is very much a bell weather player for us. If his head goes down then it’s carnage. Missed tackles, total loss of positional awareness and chronic distribution come to the fore. He has been steadier in the last couple of games but I would be looking around for a replacement in the summer. Right back has been a problem position for us for a generation, even when we were powering up the divisions there wasn’t an automatic choice. Bernard Mendy could be an option here but he is maddeningly inconsistent.
Andy Dawson: each time we think it’s a division or a season too far then the left back comes up trumps. Totally solid tackling allied to sound positional awareness mean he is rarely out run. Once in possession he gives a simple ball to relieve pressure. Dawson epitomises why one should never give up on the game despite it’s fall of Rome decadence. Bottom division to the Prem and not out of place. Magic.
Anthony Gardner: if he plays the majority of the games remaining then we will stay up. He does the simple things so well and inspires confidence throughout the team.
Stephen Moyocolo: since his baptism of fire in the August Spurs debacle the Nigerian has knuckled down and worked hard at the physical side of the game. Tough tackling plus strength in the air complement his undoubted ball skills. A good example of why you shouldn’t judge a player until he has had ten games. I would now pick him ahead of Kamil Zayette in the heart of defence.
George Boetang: the advent of Tom Cairney has given GB a whole new lease of life. He is mad about the boy and wants to play a big role mentoring his professional development. His own game is back to its best and he capped it with a spectacular volley to make it two nil.
Tom Cairney: Liam Brady meets Manu Petit. It’s up to him how far he goes in the game. If he has the right attitude then the world is his oyster. Credit to Brown here. He put Cairney in at exactly the right time and stuck with his decision. Dean Marney, Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee have hardly been missed.
Stephen Hunt: a brilliant start to Tiger life took a bit of a wobble but since his brace at Bolton Hunt is back to his battling best and I am glad that Pearson took the gamble not to sell the Irishman to Wolves in the window.
Craig Fagan: always offers 100% but was woefully out of position as a lone striker and is now back on the right hand side. My preference would be for Kamil Ghilas on this flank. If we are away and need a bit more defensively then Richard Garcia would be my man. Fagan, due to his pace could make for an interesting impact sub.
Jan Vennegoor of HessleRoad: has linked well with Altidore and they have both set up each other for goals this week. My main concern is with the Dutchman’s fitness levels as he flags in the second period. If we are going to play 4 5 1 away from the Circle he seems to be the obvious choice.
Jozy Altidore: along with Cairney he is the reason for cheer amongst the faithful.
Kevin Kilbane is useful off the bench to shore up the midfield and provides defensive cover, but his legs have gone as regards ninety minutes. A similar story for Nick Barmby , and Geovanni seems out of favour, not even getting off the bench in recent games, but this proves how far we have come. Last season he seemed our only hope of a bit of magic. Plus the mercurial ability of Amr Zaki has yet to be fully unleashed…