11 REASONS WHY HULL CITY LOOK LIKE
FALLING SHORT OF AUTOMATIC PROMOTION
Pressure seemed to get to the players in vital games, the goalless draws at home to Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday, plus both Derby County fixtures were good examples of this and the defeat at Middlesborough was pivotal for both Clubs, providing inspiration for them and a corresponding slump for us.
Relegation zone sides also caused us problems, vital points were dropped against poor sides like Rotherham, Charlton, Bristol City and Leeds.
Every game became an ordeal as we moved towards the final stages of the season. The KC was often quiet, with many fans absent for reasons of ticket price, politics or poor entertainment value. A full stadium might have made a difference.
Defence has been our strength under Bruce and it remains steady. We were top of the table on several occasions in 2015/16, but in too many games we seemed keener to prevent defeat rather than ensure a win, we were reluctant to push men forward and we failed to 'kick on' at the key stage of the season. We rarely started a game with two recognised strikers.
Inspiration was lacking, too often games were played at a low tempo with an inability to break down well organised defences.
Championship sides sussed us. They realised that if they could score the game's first goal, we weren't likely to fight back and win, our game statistics demonstrate this.
Transfer Window activity in January is often vital for sides seeking automatic promotion. It wasn't great for us in 2016. Nick Powell was a calculated gamble that failed and we remained with very few options up front and the goals started to dry up.
Assem and Ehab Allam made no effort to unite the fans when a formal statement accepting the FA name change decision could have boosted and stabilised the Club. They boycotted games, and continued their erratic behaviour with uncertainty around the sale of the Club and their own motivation to remain at the helm, culminating in ill timed publicity for a dubious membership scheme just before the run in.
Bruce too often didn't seem to know his best side and with Chuba Akpom apparently frozen out soon after Christmas our limited options up front were exposed and we had too heavy a reliance on Abel Hernandez.
Leadership on the pitch was patchy with many longing for the passion of an Ian Ashbee type player during the all important run in.
Either Steve Bruce didn't get the best out of his players or maybe our highly rated squad wasn't as good as we thought it was. Most fans seem to think we have under achieved and enthusiasm for the play offs is a touch luke warm.
BEVERLEY RACES: SEASON OPENER
WEDNESDAY 13 APRIL
TOP NOTCH TONTO TEAM REACH FOR THE STARS WITH OREWA
Prominent owner Keith Brown feels he could have found 'the next Top Notch Tonto' ahead of Orewa’s debut at Beverley’s first meeting of the season on Wednesday. The two-year-old son of Helmet cost Brown 18,000 euro at Tattersalls Ireland last September and is one of eight declarations for the five-furlong Welcome Back To Beverley Novice Auction Stakes (2.35).
Brown’s silks are best known for Top Notch Tonto, the 2013 QEII runner-up who broke his maiden at the second attempt on the Westwood. His owner, who hails from Swanland, East Yorkshire, is also expecting big things from the Brian Ellison-trained Orewa. Brown said: 'He’s the most expensive horse I’ve ever bought, but he’s such a well-bred, lovely colt. All Helmet colts were making around £50k to £75k but this one came out at around 1.45pm, and by that time everyone was knocking back food and drink and I was the only left in the sales hall, so I think we’ve got a bargain.
He’s got quite a high action so I hope we don’t get too much more rain, but Beverley is obviously my local track and this looks a good race for him. From what we’ve seen so far, I’m hoping he could be our next Top Notch Tonto. He’s been working really well and is a smashing-looking horse.'
Top Notch Tonto, meanwhile, is reported in top form as the distinctive-looking six-year-old gears up for a return to the track in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on April 22. Brown told www.beverley-racecourse.co.uk: 'Tonto was really unlucky last year. He obviously won at York, but three other times he was beaten by such a short margin. We’ll start him out in the mile-and-a-quarter race at Sandown and then hopefully kick on from there. He’s as good as ever -Brian is thrilled with him - and I”m hoping for a big year with him.'
Beverley’s seven-race card on Wednesday is due to begin at 2pm, with the official going on Tuesday morning described as good to soft.
Feature race is the £11,500 NL Van Truck And Car Hire Handicap (3.10), won last year by 100-rated sprinter Pipers Note.
Beverley racecourse has invested over £800,000 on refurbishments in the close season, while chief executive Sally Iggulden pledged that no class five race all year will be contested for less than £6,000 in prize-money.
For full details of today's race meeting check out
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