Friday, 15 July 2016

Grimsby Town 0 Hull City 0: How serious is Moses Odubajo's knee injury?

Hull City’s first pre-season fixture of the summer produced a goalless draw at Blundell Park against Grimsby Town.

The Tigers may well be a Premier League side again but the paper thin squad looked anything but ready for a top flight campaign with Harry Maguire the only senior outfield player on the bench. Abel Hernandez and David Meyler haven’t returned from international duty yet and Ahmed Elmohamady has visa issues. I’ve no idea where Adama Diomande was. Working on Immingham docks? Walking the donkeys on Cleethorpes beach? Who knows?

The squad situation wasn’t helped when Moses Odubajo went down inside three minutes and failed to bounce back up. His knee bent backwards in the challenge and he was down a good few minutes before limping off with the help of two physios. He looked a little more comfortable as he headed down the tunnel but Steve Bruce said post-match that he may have a dislocated knee-cap which would put paid to his season. I hope that it’s not the case. Not just because we’ll then have to buy another player on our miniscule budget but became Moses is a really good guy who deserves his shot at the Premier League. I’d be heartbroken for him.

City 4-4-2-0
Eldin Jakupovic
Moses Odubajo – Michael Dawson – Curtis Davies – Andy Robertson
Robert Snodgrass – Jake Livermore – Tom Huddlestone – Sam Clucas
Mo Diame – Shaun Maloney

The biggest surprise of the entire night was that my car was still intact when I got back to it. We parked in an area that resembled a scene from Shameless but luckily, it didn’t catch fire. Still, if you need a slightly soggy sofa – I know plenty of gardens for you to choose one from.

I’ll skip over much of the game because there’s not a great deal to say. It wasn’t a bad game (for pre-season), the tempo was decent (for pre-season) and the players looked in good shape (for pre-season). There just wasn’t much in the way of goalmouth opportunity.

It felt odd not to be starting pre-season at North Ferriby. That’s a rare occurrence these days. Because City were wearing their new sort-of-black away kit, we got a clash of two away kits. Grimsby sported a silver number with teal flashes that looked pretty good. Their team didn’t look bad either. They were neat and tidy in midfield, quick out wide and big in both boxes. They’ll cause plenty of teams problems this season. Omar Bogle gave Curtis Davies plenty to think about in the first half and they had a fair old battle. I’m not sure it’s a warm-up for the Premier League though, Curtis is unlikely to come across too many strikers who are six-foot-four-inches-tall and have a first touch somewhere between David Jones and Jamie Wood. But you never know.

Harry Maguire replace Odubajo early on and played at right-back. He faced a lively combination of Dominic Vose and Danny Andrew but was up to the challenge. City played some slick football in bursts and mid-way through the half switched to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with Sam Clucas leading the line. Robert Snodgrass headed over the bar at the far post from a good left wing cross and Diame forced a save from James McKeown with a left-footed strike in the only moments of action.

Half Time: Grimsby Town 0 Hull City 0.

City made a solitary change at half time with Jarrod Bowen replacing Tom Huddlestone. Then on 54 mins, Josh Clackstone replaced a limping Harry Maguire and on 67 mins Josh Tymon, Greg Luer and Greg Olley came on for Diame, Robertson and Snodgrass. Johan Ter Horst’s introduction for Maloney on 77 mins was the final change.

The youngsters brought plenty of vitality with them and created most of our second half opportunities. I’ve seen these lads an awful lot in the last year and there is plenty of quality amongst them.

Sam Clucas’s corner was headed clear only for Jarrod Bowen to control and volley against the angle of post and bar from 25 yards. Clucas then beat centre half Pearson with a near post run to connect with Robertson’s ball in but fluffed his shot by kicking against his own foot from 6 yards. Diame pounced on a mistake in midfield and fed Snodgrass who shaped to curl one from 12 yards or so but McKeown saved well.

At the other end Pearson looped a header just over with Jakupovic in his neon orange keeper kit worried about it before the same player smashed the crossbar with a header from a free kick and was unlucky to see it bounce down, onto the line and out. With time running down, Greg Olley curled just wide from a short Clucas free-kick awarded after Bowen was pushed over on the corner of the area and Olley then collected a terrific pass from Livermore, stepped inside and forced another save from McKeown.

Full Time: Grimsby Town 0 Hull City 0.

So ended a fairly decent game (for pre-season) with City looking fit and strong but the work-out being totally over-shadowed by the injury to Odubajo.

City now face North Ferriby United tomorrow with none of the senior squad being involved after tonight’s action. The way things are currently – I’d suggest hiding them all in a storage container until the real stuff starts against Leicester City on August 13th. There are plenty on Grimsby docks to choose from. Just make sure they don’t get shipped off to China – the transfer window doesn’t close there until midnight!

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