Town v Hull: A fan’s perspective and prediction

After a long and frankly tedious summer, Championship football is finally back on the hallowed turf of Portman Road.

I won’t lie, my summer Saturdays have been plagued with uneasiness, an irreplaceable void that longed for the return of the Super Blues and all the melodrama that comes with following such a glorious institution.

Even though the season officially started last week - in somewhat impressive fashion might I add - it still won’t feel right until Town’s league campaign resumes on home soil and we can fully gauge this team’s prospects for the year on the relative safety of our own turf.

Early signs are encouraging. While the mid-week defeat to Northampton left many questioning the depth of Paul Jewell’s threadbare squad, the 3-0 trouncing of Bristol City a week ago has given renewed optimism to fans craving something more than the mid-table mediocrity that has crippled our team in recent times.

We’re top of the league, after all. If we can stay there for 45 more games, it’s hello Premiership.

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The first team looking to spoil our party is Hull City, who like the majority of Championship clubs claim to be a Premier League outfit in all but status.

The Tigers have kicked off their campaign in a much more miserable fashion, losing 1-0 at home to Blackpool last weekend before suffering the indignity of exiting the Carling Cup at the hands of lower league opposition (while we suffered the same indignity, we won at the weekend so I don’t care).

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Their manager Nigel Pearson is a proven pair of hands at this level but has done very little to excite the Hull faithful during the summer, with Hull’s fan forums speculating about another non-descript season at the KC Stadium.

In reality, while no Championship game is totally straight forward, Hull are more tabby-cat than tiger these days, and represent one of the easier assignments in a league containing illustrious names such as West Ham, Leicester and Leeds.

Thankfully, our Liverpudlian gaffer has seemingly established an ideal team for these sorts of tasks, with sprinklings of youth reinforced with the experienced names of Bowyer, Ingimarsson and Kennedy to hopefully give Town the necessary steel.

There is still the flamboyant style going forward though, with our three-pronged forward line of Lee Martin, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (JET) and ‘goal machine’ Michael Chopra looking as inventive and effective as any Championship equivalent.

The big worry for Saturday though is at the heart of our defence. In the likely absences of Damien Delaney and Ivar Ingimarsson, the spotlight looks set to fall on Tommy Smith and Jack Ainsley to keep the likes of Matty Fryatt, Dele Adebola and Jay Simpson quiet.

While both youngsters are competent enough, with Ainsley particularly impressive in the midweek defeat to Northampton, there is no denying that these defenders are hideously inexperienced at Championship level.

Despite having the considerable talents of David Stockdale behind them, the fact that Town’s centre backs are fresh out of the cr�che means I can’t see us keeping Hull at bay for 90 minutes.

There are also rumblings that Hull are coming to Suffolk with the intention of ‘parking the bus’, stringing five men across midfield and telling Town’s tremendous attacking trio to come and have a go if they think they’re hard enough.

Fortunately, I believe our boys are good enough to answer such a threat. JET was at his enigmatic best against Northampton and can hopefully replicate this type of display on home soil where the defensive onus is less great, Lee Martin looks a totally different player this year while ‘goal machine’ Michael Chopra has rightfully earned the nickname because he is an actual goal machine.

So with that in mind, I’m going to be bold and say a 3-1 win for the Tractor Boys. I am a perennial optimist, and while I foresee a nervy last 20 minutes with the scoreline perilously poised at 2-1, I think we’ll get a goal late on send the Tigers back home with their tail between their legs.

Of course, this is just the opinion of a lone fan gone silly after a football-less summer. If you agree, disagree or want to call me an idiot, the comment box below will provide you with a suitable platform.

- What do you think? Let Jon know by leaving a comment below or follow him on Twitter @jonnievale

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