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Archive for January, 2013

31st January 2013 Thursday – Last day of the January transfer window – The day all football fans dread or look forward depending on how cash rich their club is or how desperate the owners are – all pure lunacy of course, thought up by the football control freaks who look down on us mortals with amusement from the giddy heights of UEFA Headquarters. So here is what happened all in a matter of hours.

Hull City have signed Gedo a 6’ ½” striker and Al Fathi a 5’10” midfielder both from Egyptian Premier League Club Al-Ahly, and both on 6 month loan deals. The Egyptian top league is suspended again following recent riots and it looks like Steve Bruce and the Allam’s have done some good business.

Gedo is the player’s nickname (real name Mohamed Nagy Ismail, Gedo means “Grandpa” in Egyptian Arabic), he is a 28 years old Egyptian striker/midfielder who has played 32 times for the Egyptian National team scoring 17 goals. In 72 appearances for A-Ahly he scored 29 goals. He has represented Egypt national football team, making his début against Malawi on 29 December 2009. Gedo was named as part of the 2010 African Cup of Nations squad. He admitted he was surprised by his inclusion in the squad and had read on the internet that he was included. Gedo scored his first international goal in Dubai against Mali after coming on as a substitute in the 1–0 on 4 January in the build-up to the African Cup of Nations. In the opening match for the Egyptian team in the Cup of Nations, he scored the third goal in the 3–1 victory over Nigeria on 12 January. Four days later he scored a goal in Egypt’s 2–0 win over Mozambique. In the Quarter Final of the tournament, he scored in Egypt’s 3–1 win over Cameroon. Gedo scored again in the Semi Final on 28 January. He scored the fourth goal in Egypt’s 4–0 victory over Algeria. In the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations final against Ghana, he scored the match’s only goal in the 84th minute which led Egypt to a 1–0 victory and their seventh title. Gedo came on as a substitute in the six games of the tournament, playing a total of 173 minutes. Yet he was named top scorer of the tournament with five goals, meaning that in Angola he scored a goal every 35 minutes he played. To be clear, in scoring all his five goals, Gedo only came in to the Egyptian line-up as an impact player and never started at first whistle. All his goals came after he made substitute appearances and all in the second half. As well as winning the Golden Boot Award, Gedo was named the Standard Bank Discovery Player of the competition.

28 years old Al Fathi plays a variety of roles in the midfield such as right midfielder and defensive midfielder and occasionally in the right back role for club and country. He has played 91 times for Egypt and scored 13 goals for them. He played 3 times for Sheffield United in the English Premier League during the 2007 season but could not win any further starting roles. He was a member of the Egyptian youth team that won the African Youth Cup 2003 in Burkina Faso, and he was the star of the Egypt squad at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2003 and at one point Fathi was part of Egypt’s U-20, U-23 and senior squads at the same time. He was also part of the Egypt squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations at the Cairo International Stadium in 2006, when they beat the Ivory Coast on penalties in the final. In February 2007, Fathi sealed a 2-0 win over Sweden with a powerful shot three minutes before time in an international friendly in Cairo marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Football Confederation (CAF). On the 7th February 2008 during the Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008 Fathi scored the first goal to lead Egypt to an historic 4-1 win over Côte d’Ivoire in the semi-finals.  In the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations he was named as the fair player of the tournament and he was named in the team of the tournament.

25 years old winger or wing-back or fullback Ahmed Elmohamady (full name Ahmed Eissa Elmohamady Abdel Fattah) returns today from Sunderland who have agreed for him to come back to us on a further loan until the end of the season. He had been recalled by Martin O’Neill earlier in the month (16th) but the Sunderland manager has decided he has enough cover in his squad to allow Elmohamady to return to the KC Stadium. Elmo played 23 games for City in the first half of this season and became a firm favourite with the fans. His attacking runs and excellent crosses gave the Tigers a cutting edge and he has been sorely missed in recent games. Elmohamady played several times for U21 Egypt national football team, and was a participant in 2007 African Youth Championship which was held in Republic of the Congo, he was the rising star of the Egyptian team and one of the stars of the tournament despite his playing out of position as he played forward. He made his senior international début in August 2007 at the age of 20, in a friendly against Côte d’Ivoire in Paris and has played eight of Egypt’s last nine matches before ACN 2008. He’s included in the final squad of Egypt which competed in ACN 2008 in Ghana and grabbed the cup, where he played a role as a substitute. Since then, he reserved his place in the starting line up as a Right-back or Winger. He started all Egypt’s six games in the second round of FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifiers. In the 2009 Confederations Cup, he was sent off in Egypt’s opening game against Brazil for deliberately handling Lúcio’s goal-bound effort in the last minute, in an effort to save his team losing in the last minute. This resulted in Brazil going on to score the penalty to win the game by 4–3.

Earlier on in the window of course we signed loanees Robbie Brady and David Meyler as full transfers from Manchester United and Sunderland respectively. Paul McKenna went on loan to Fleetwood, and Jamie Devitt was loaned to Grimsby, both until the end of the season.

Also Liam Cooper signed as a permanent transfer for Chesterfield for an undisclosed fee.

Late on we discovered Mark Cullen has gone to Stockport County on loan for the rest of the season.

The DJ Campbell purchase from QPR which had raised its head again this morning was not to be in the end and he has been signed by Blackburn Rovers. It seems we kept our heads and wouldn’t agree to excessive wages or contract period. Blackburn however then took over and probably gave him his dream contract. Glad we didn’t fall for it.

The Kevin Phillips rumours came to nothing as he signed for his old boss Ian Holloway and Crystal Palace . The  Ebanks-Blake rumour never re-surfaced.

So City renew their league campaign in much better shape than expected following a scary few weeks during which we lost Sone Aluko to injury for at least 8 weeks, David Stockdale was recalled by Fulham (but came back on loan again), and Elmohamady was recalled by Sunderland (but has come back again). The Tigers form dipped alarmingly throughout January hampered by these absences, as we struggled to convert chances and drew with Leyton Orient in the FA Cup (but won the replay). We got kicked out of the FA Cup by struggling Barnsley, drew two league games (Blackpool and Peterborough) and lost the other one at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

We are still 3rd in the league however on 50 points after 28 games. Phew! After a roller coaster January….it’s all to play for.

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26th January 2013 FA Cup 4th Round Tie KC Stadium – The Tigers again failed to sparkle and couldn’t get the ball in the net. A rather depressing result in which few players showed any real class and together didn’t amount to a team pushing for promotion. We all seem to know the problem and there is no doubt Steve Bruce and the Allam’s are doing all they can to get replacements for the missing Aluko and Elmohamady, but it is frustrating that others in the squad seem incapable of stepping up to the plate and giving us something that can win games like this.

Barnsley are by no means a good team, though this result will give them a boost (and no doubt they will get a couple of results on the back of it) and if City had produced anywhere near true form they should be in the hat.

On the plus side the chances are still being created, Proschwitz was looking like a striker and in the opening 20 minutes we should have troubled the score board but instead we troubled the supporters; a couple of penalty shouts turned down and at half time it seemed that the final 45 minutes would bring further chances and surely a goal. We were missing the Elmo crosses far too much and the team looked impotent and all was seemingly set up for a sucker punch.

The second half came and and the clocked ticked by and on 70 minutes disaster struck. Chris Dagnall scored, two good saves by Jakupovic but the ball went in at the 3rd time of asking and 1200 red and white fans went wild.

City stirred themselves for an equaliser but as almost expected the few chances could not be converted and a hero did not emerge.

Maybe it was a good thing that these poor efforts have been in the FA Cup and not league fixtures; we have the rest of the season to look forward to and from a lofty 3rd position in the league as well.

Here’s hoping before Thursday 31st, Bruce can add something to the squad which will restore the team to its Leeds destroying best.

Hull City: Eldin Jakupovic, James Chester, Alex Bruce, Paul McShane, Liam Rosenior, Seyi Olofinjana, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn, Robbie Brady, Robert Koren, Nick Proschwitz. Bench: Tom Cairney, Cameron Stewart, Jack Hobbs, Joe Cracknell, Abdoulaye Faye, Andy Dawson, Jay Simpson.

Barnsley: Luke Steele, Bobby Hassell, Martin Cranie, Tom Kennedy, Scott Wiseman, David Perkins,  Jacob Mellis, Kelvin Etuhu, Scott Golbourne, Chris Dagnall, Marlon Harewood. Bench: Ben Alnwick, Jim O’Brien, Rhys Oates, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Danny Rose, John Stones, Stephen Foster

Referee: Mr Stroud: Attendance 9932: MOTM Paul McShane

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26th January 2013 Saturday – Paul McKenna has joined League Two side Fleetwood Town on loan for the remainder of the season says the Hull City Official Club Website today.

The experienced midfielder completed the final details of the move on Friday afternoon and goes straight into the Cod Army’s squad for Saturday’s game against Oxford United.

McKenna has made 12 appearances for the Tigers this season, he was signed by Nigel Pearson on 1st July 2011 on a 2 years contract, a free transfer. He has made 50 appearances for the Tigers and scored no goals.

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19th January 2013 Saturday 3pm – Eleven Hundred or so of the Tiger Nation travelled in bad weather to Peterborough hoping that Saturday would see a return to the dazzling form witnessed against Leeds; we know we can play like that and all hope it happens sooner or later but some of the magic ingredients are not there at the moment so we have to wait. Maybe we are being sussed a bit as well and Steve Bruce needs to counter that when he has the team he wants on the pitch. The statistics for this game where massively in our favour but we never converted and we were always at risk of a sucker punch, so maybe we only got what we deserved. The talk is all about DJ Campbell from QPR, he would fit the bill and the sooner the better please.

Both teams lined up 3 – 5 -2, another indication we need to re-think.

Proschwitz had the first chance and it was from a Brady cross, he jumped and twisted but the ball just cleared the right hand side of the goal.

On 33 minutes it looked like Koren had scored City’s goal, but instead the dubious privilege went to Newell of Peterborough. Koren’s poor corner from the left was driven straight at the defender who clumsily stuck out a leg and his keeper had no chance.

City in the lead 0-1 then and they had enjoyed a good spell of possession for the previous 20 minutes or so.  McShane playing well (hoping for a new contract) and Brady getting a lot of play down the left. In fact by half time Stockdale had not needed to make a single save.

Things changed a bit in the 2nd half as is almost always the way with Hull City. Ferguson either cajoled his players or used a mini hair dryer but whatever, they picked up the game and City found they were doing more defending than threatening another goal on the board.

On 62 minutes Corry Evans came on for Jay Simpson as Peterborough came more into the game. Peterborough had made two substitutions and were pressing.

On 74 minutes Rosenior put in a good cross for Proschwitz but the keeper took it before it could get to his head and on 76 minutes a ball high in the air dropped near the goal and it was nicked off Proschwitz’s head by the keeper.

But on 78 minutes came the penalty for the home side, James Chester fouling Tommy Rowe, and McCann put it away 1-1.

Still time for City to score again and Bruce changed things on 84 minutes with Stewart coming on for Koren and Cairney on for Quinn. Neither Koren nor Quinn had stood out and

In the 85 minute City finally managed a bit of pressure in front of their fans, a chance in the box for Campbell and then a low header by McShane but straight at the keeper who stooped low to collect it.

A bit of action in the last few minutes then but not much in the previous 90 to warm any of the City fans. Proschwitz rounded his man on the edge of the box but shot straight at the keeper in the 93 minute, he should have done much better, and in the closing minutes the home side were hanging on. And again in the 94 minute it was Proschwitz with the last touch in the match who had a shot from the edge of the box again but miss-hit it just before the final whistle.

Not a god performance and a long way away from the form we have enjoyed; far too many missed chances (yes we know a decent striker is needed) maybe the pitch and maybe the cold told, but no injuries, a winter game out of the way and a point. We sit 3rd in the table after 27 games on 50 points, equal with Leicester who are 2nd with a far superior goal difference.

Hull City: Stockdale, Chester, Bruce, McShane, Rosenior, Meyler, Koren (Stewart 84), Quinn (Cairney 84), Brady, Simpson (Evans 62), Proschwitz. Unused substitutes: Jakupovic, Hobbs, Olofinjana, Faye.

Peterborough: Olejnik, Bostwick, Wootton, Brisley (Mendez-Laing 66), Little, Boyd, Petrucci (McCann 63), Newell, Rowe, Gordon-Hutton (Swanson 82), Gayle. Unused substitutes: Day, Alcock, Ferdinand, Knight-Percival.

Stats: Possession 47% Peterborough to 52% Hull City: Shots 7 Peterborough to 14 Hull City (of those 1 on Target for Peterborough and 8 on target for Hull City): Corners 1 for Peterborough and 6 for Hull City.

Referee: Mr Tony Bates (Staffordshire) Attendance 6214.

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18th January 2013 Friday – Hull City have agreed a further loan for Fulham Goal Keeper David Stockdale to return to the KC until the end of this season.

His first loan period saw him play 5 games for the Tigers in November/December 2012 but he was then recalled by Fulham when Mark Schwarzer was unfit. He played just three games for Fulham as a replacement and now returns because Schwarzer is announced fit for first team duty.

However should Schwarzer be unavailable for Fulham Stockdale would go back to Craven Cottage again.

This second loan must be a big relief for Steve Bruce and the City back-line after some dodgy performances by Jakupovic.

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After hearing yesterday that main striker Sone Aluko had an Achilles tear and will be out of action for 8 weeks, Steve Bruce got hit with more bad news today when Martin O’Neill had second thoughts on the agreed season long loan of Ahmed Elomhamady and recalled him to the Stadium of Light.

Elmo has been a stand-out player for City starting 23 games so far. Playing as a wing-back his runs out-wide and crosses have been a feature of the Tigers attacking edge.

Until this week the balance of the team seemed to only need an in-form striker to pair up with Sone Aluko and a reliable goalkeeper to complete a promotion winning force.

That’s all changed now and after spending £3.5m already on tying up permanent transfers of former loan players Robbie Brady and David Meyler, Steve Bruce must be wondering if he has to seek more funds from the owners. No doubt he will be told its loans only for the rest of the window.

Long term injuries to the clubs previous main striker Matty Fryatt and another wingback Joe Dudgeon had been alleviated by the appearance of Aluko and Elmohamady but if he wants to keep the current formation he better start the search straight away.

 

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15th January 2013 Tuesday 7.45 pm FA Cup 3rd Round Replay – So City hobble over the line and end up winning 1-2; there should have been no reason to play extra time if Simpson had put away just one of his chances. City deserved the win overall and move on to the Barnsley Game in the 4th round.

As seems almost normal when the settled team line-up is fiddled with, City had to cope with the opposition starting livelier and it took most of the first half for them to get into their stride. This was a stronger team than the one which played at home in the first game and no doubt Steve Bruce would have expected some better performances. McKenna was not even on the bench as City started the game 3 – 5 – 2, with Rosenior and Dawson as the wingbacks; however this changed to a 4 – 4 – 2 i.e. a straight back four as the game wore on and they functioned more comfortably as normal fullbacks.

Nick Proschwitz has had a lot more game time recently and this payed off in the 41st minute when he scored what has been described as a wonder goal. From a Rosenior cross he controlled the ball, turned and volleyed from 20 yards crashing it into the top right hand corner of the net.

Half time and the players go in 0-1 to the Tigers.

Jay Simpson had at least two good goal scoring chances and City should have wrapped things up, in fact after one chance in the 86th minute Orient got the ball to the other end and scored in the 87th minute. This goal has gone down as a goalkeeping error by Jakupovic who has had a torrid 4 days in the City jersey. Dean Cox equalised with a goal from outside the area to the top right corner of the net, his cross looped over the flapping Jakupovic who (couldn’t get back in time) and into the net it went. Which meant a score now of 1 – 1 with less than 5 minutes to go.

Thirty minutes of extra time became reality and then the prospect of penalties to follow. Penalties did look on the cards but with 2 minutes of extra time left Tom Cairney came to the rescue with a low drive from the edge of the box into the corner of the net. Cruel heartbreak for Orient, who had played so well and made it tough for City, but a massive relief for the Tiger nation who must have been expecting the worst.

Hull City: Jackupovic, Chester, Bruce, McShane, Cairney, Evans, Quinn, Dawson, Simpson, Proschwitz. Bench:  Cracknell, Stewart, Cullen, Wilson, Olofinjana, Faye, Hobbs.

Leyton Orient: Jones, Adubaju, Chorley, Baudry, Sawyer, Smith, Rowlands, James, Cook, Cox, Mooney. Bench: McSweeney, Lee, Cuthbert, Allsop, Symes, Lobjoit.

Stats: Possession 48% LO to 52% City; shots 13 LO to 7 City (on target  7 LO to 9 City); Corners  7 LO to 1 City

Yellow cards LO None, City 2 (Bruce and Dawson)

Substitutions for Hull City; 78 min Stewart for Quinn, 83 min Olofinjana for Dawson.

Ref: Mr Graham Scott.  Attendance 3,601

In a post-match interview Steve Bruce revealed Sone Aluko has a small tear in his Achilles and thinks it will be 6 to 8 weeks before he is back playing.

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