Paul Parker

Tough test for Tigers

Paul Parker

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You cannot help but be impressed by the way Hull City have started life as a Premier League club.

They've refused to be intimidated by the opposition, played their own game - which has included some great football at times - and stuck together as a team.

With 20 points on the board, the Tigers are already more than halfway to safety - at least in terms of last season's final table - but with just a quarter of this campaign gone.

They've been sensational in every respect so far, but I fear the bubble is about to burst.

Even with such a decent points tally on the board already, Hull are not safe.

Before the defeat to Chelsea, Phil Brown's side had strung together four wins on the trot with seemingly consummate ease. But it's just as easy to lose four on the bounce.

With the season still in its early stages, Hull have not yet had to contend with injuries and suspensions. They've been lucky so far; a Daniel Cousin ban and Craig Fagan's fractured leg aside, all they've had to deal with have been a few minor knocks.

But it's almost inevitable that there will be more absences as the season progresses.

We're yet to see how well equipped they are to deal with that situation but I fear a lack of real strength in depth in their squad will be exposed soon enough.

Brown will have to delve into the transfer market in January, for sure, but he must be careful not to upset the balance of the current squad.

The mix he has at the moment is just right - the results on the pitch are a testimony to that.

But if he wants to strengthen his squad, he has to do it with the right kind of player. And that means no prima-donnas or big-time Charlies, just players who are willing to fight for the cause.

Fortunately, Brown does not tolerate players who are not 100 per cent committed. A player may well have all the skills in the world, but if he's not prepared to roll his sleeves up, there won't be a place for him at Hull.

It's ironic that one player who epitomises all those qualities, Dean Windass, is on the verge of quitting the club.

Hull have been quick on the counter this season and with Windass not getting any younger, he's been somewhat left behind and only made one appearance.

But Brown is absolutely right not to linger on sentimentality.

Upon promotion to the top flight he was charged with a task, and up until now he has barely put a foot wrong.

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