Well the season is coming to an end. I think most of us had two aims this season, one stay up, and two sort the ownership. They've both happened so it's been as good as we could have possibly hoped for. In real terms this has probably been one of the most progressive for the club in several years, however that hasn’t entirely metamorphised on the pitch, where we’re best described as streaky. On a good day uplifting and full of promise but on the several bad days we’ve been wretched. Still, here we are, we’re a championship club next year, we have a loveable and bat shit crazy Turkish Don Robinson overseeing the club and for the second year in a row we’re a lot better off by the end of the season than we were at the start. Beggars can’t be choosers and all that.
Anyway, I’ve had a good at grading all the players, plus coaching. Didn’t cover every single player, just the most active. If you don’t agree (which let’s be honest as a fan base we never do) please send your hate tweets to @thelikesofhull. Cheers. UTT
Matt Ingram B
Matt had a couple of horrors early doors (QPR at home who already think he’s prime Scot Thompson so that didn’t help) but he then bounced back with a series of good games and by the time he was dropped for Baxter was arguably our only in-form player. He took his medicine however and when Baxter was out with injury and illness he stepped back in to produce another solid run. He’s imperfect and can have a few glitches, but his shot stopping is excellent, his attitude is too and he’s grown into the season. I’d keep him around personally but we’ll see.
Nathan Baxter B
Hands up if you went mental when GM dropped Ingram for the Barnsley game!? (my hand is currently up) Young Nathan came in and at our lowest point of the season was a breath of fresh air. His handling, distribution and set piece work were all excellent and he seemed to just give his defence confidence. Possibly his only iffy game was Everton in the FA Cup, but you were always going to get one at his age. He dropped out with illness but has come back in to finish the season. I don’t think many City fans would have a problem with the two keepers battling it out again.
Lewie Coyle- B-
Struggled in the 4-3-3 early and was one of those players who you wondered about pre-Christmas. Was he up to the job at Champ level? Been unlucky with injuries but seems to have benefitted from the change of shape. When he’s come back in he’s looked very comfortable at right wing back and he gives the team a more defensive option here. That said the goal vs Cardiff was a cracking strike. Too often we as fans are quick to dismiss players who haven’t played predominantly at the level we’re at (See Mr.Ashbee) but Lewie has done enough to suggest he could play an important role next year.
Brandon Fleming A
I ummed and ahhed about giving this out but I don’t know what other grade makes sense. Brandon has been brutally unlucky with injuries over the last couple of years and you could be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to happen for him. Again, like Lewie Coyle I think the wing back position gave him a boost but in realistic terms he’s been outstanding. He covers so much ground, is incredibly positive, his crossing and passing is top notch (unless you are some Meff on the facebook fan’s forum) and his natural understanding with players is outstanding, particularly KLP and Jacob Greaves. Better than anyone could have hoped for and well deserved.
Callum Elder C
Callum has lots of positive traits, he’s fast, he’s athletic and he’s committed. But somehow that doesn’t seem to come together enough at this level. I think sometimes his positional play is a little off. Sometimes its decision making. He’s one of those players that will divide fans if he goes or stays but in truth he’s struggled at times. Could bite us on the arse though and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do well elsewhere. Brandon Fleming’s form could be a factor here too, I wouldn’t expect much playing time for him and with Australia still in with a chance of making the World Cup, you’d imagine he’ll need playing time to make the squad.
Alfie Jones B
Had injury issues early but has come into the back three and looked incredibly at home. Alfie looks like some of the best money we’ve spent in recent years plus he can also play in holding midfield too. When you get fans screaming bloody murder on Twitter saying how we need wholesale changes, this is one of primary reasons they don’t know what they are talking about. For Alfie Jones you may as well see Michael Turner or Andy Dawson, seven out of ten every week. And you need them to succeed.
Jacob Greaves B+
I disagreed with a couple of fans who had him down as player of the year. Not hugely but I think he’s a notch below that level. He has one of the highest ceilings at the club. You know when you have a Premier League mate and they read about Jacob Greaves and ask what he’s like? I always say John Stones and that gets eyes rolling, however he’s long, languid, fast, left footed and can pass it from the back. He’s that type. He struggled more in a two but has cruised around in a back three. Has learned and improved. We’ll need to get to the Prem to keep him you’d suspect.
Sean McLaughlin B+
Where have you been all my life Sean? A ball winning, strong, aggressive, no-nonsense centre back that can bully the opposition. All three of the centre backs playing at the moment can pass it and he’s calm and composed. I’m really glad he’s under the radar as I’ve hardly seen him have a bad game and that means people aren’t picking up on it. Not least at Ireland where most of us were flabbergasted he didn’t get called up to in the last squad. He’s been a huge bonus.
Di’Shon Bernard B-
Half a step behind the other three perhaps? Started the season well and was probably the stronger of the two with Jacob Greaves. He’s most things you want in a centre back and has a ton of potential. Started to lose his way a little by mid-season (had a stinker at home to Stoke) and by the time he was rested it was about right. Like most City fans I wouldn’t be at all upset to see him brought back to the club.
Richie Smallwood B+
I do love an underdog. It won’t have been lost on Richie that the dustman faced Tony Mowbray kicked him to the curb as soon as Blackburn got back to the second level and his no-nonsense holding midfield role is never going to be flashy or make him a headline maker. The captain has had a better season this year than last though with a series of performances that stuck two fingers up at the aforementioned Blackburn gaffer. Another one who is rarely less than seven out of ten, he grafts hard so others can go and win the game and it’s a recipe that’s been pretty successful. I’d keep him but we’ll see what the summer brings.
George Honeyman A
Didn’t start the season as he was recovering from the ankle surgery he’d put off last year. By the time he came back in we were floundering and on a poor run. Memorably he came on the pitch against Sheff U at 3-0 down and stuck one of their lads two foot in the air to get booked, but the message was clear from him, we weren’t going to be pushovers, and with him the in middle we wouldn’t often look that soft again. I love the man, works like a dog, good deliverer of the ball, got a goal in him and is an absolute shithouse king. Give him a new contract and build a statue of him, I won’t have a bad word said about him.
Regan Slater B+
Not too many Champagne bottles were being opened when Regan came back to the club this winter, but perhaps he deserves a retrospective glass of bubbly himself. He was a solid part of the league one success but as we’d seen lots of that squad subsequently struggle for form (Wilks, Magennis, Elder etc) you feared he might find it tough going. He proved to be the opposite. Bringing bite and work ethic to the midfield he outperformed last year’s efforts almost straight away. The three of Honeyman, Smallwood and Slater are gutsy, committed and cover so much ground. Only a few Sheffield United fans on Twitter seemed to be deflated by his leaving but if he keeps this up, there’ll be a lot more.
Greg Docherty C
Perhaps one of the players that surprised the fan base was the young Glaswegian. He was a big hit last year and not only scored some belters, it was the quality of the goals and play that struck a chord. He had some handy games at the start of the season but faded and has had more chances than most to claim his spot back but he’s not really got it done. Frustrating all around as the ability is there. Be interesting to see if he’s moved on or given a last chance.
George Moncur C-
Started with a couple of tidy games. Got himself a red against QPR and then faded into the background. Clearly not the new gaffer’s choice and he won’t be here next year.
Tom Huddlestone C
We all loved having him back. He’s still shown flashes of the class he has. Had one great game at centre back and was a big factor in the great FA Cup showing on TV. Truthfully, it’s been a fun swansong, but hasn’t really made a lot of difference. Still glad he came back though.
Andy Cannon C-
Scored a goal within about 30 seconds of coming on first game. Used very sparingly since and when he got the occasional chance he looked off the standard we needed. Another one destined for the exit door.
Randell Williams C+
Been incredibly unlucky with injury. When he’s been in it’s been a mixed bag but there’s signs he really suits the wing back role. You’d hope we’ll keep him next year to find out. Quick and positive on the ball, he might still be a gem.
Liam Walsh D
Tempted not to include him as he’s bound to be a quiz question in years to come. Puzzling signing that hasn’t made any impact. Saw him play ok second half vs Peterborough. That’s it.
Ryan Longman B
Looked great in pre-season and then got covid. Was very up and down on his return but again the change of shape seemed to help. Scored some absolute bangers at Bournemouth and Coventry and I’d expect his strike vs Everton wins our goal of the season. Glad to have him full time after we bought him this summer. Could be an important part in our next phase.
Malik Wilks C-
I know I’ll get some stick from some here but I’ve got to be honest. He flattered to deceive mainly. He’s got ability and can still pull something out of absolutely nothing but this was so much rarer at level two. Seems to frustrate team mates with his decision making and then got injured. Unclear about whether he’s still not right or just half way out the door. A shame as he’s talented, but I don’t think he’s going to change.
Josh Magennis C-
I love the big man, but again the jump to level two was too much. He was offside in his sleep and didn’t make the physical or goal impact we needed. Will always be a hero for last season and we all know he’ll score at the K-Com next year for Wigan.
Tom Eaves B-
Again, I’ll have my critics here and understandably so. Tom Eaves didn’t shine like Wilks and Magennis in league one but he’s outperformed them this season. Especially in the 5-3-2 and especially away from home, he’s held the ball up well, helped us defend set pieces and chipped in with a few important goals. He’s far from perfect but he’s a team player and I’d love to see him as a squad option next year.
Tyler Smith C
Came in when the cupboards seemed very bare. Had a couple of moments at Barnsley away and then scored a lovely goal against Everton in the FA Cup. Truth be told he’s really struggled to make impact. Partly as we were so poor when he arrived, but also partly because he didn’t grasp opportunities that came. A loan next season maybe?
Keane Lewis Potter B+
Had so much to learn and quickly at the start of the year. It seemed to knock back his confidence as we had that awful autumn but first McCann and then Averladze stuck with him. The second half of the season he was like a new man, running at teams at pace, scoring regularly and setting up a counter attack that frightened the opposition. He’s fearless and his confidence is infectious. I love the fact he’s always trying to win a game, everything he does is positive, even if it gets stopped. Still lots more improvement is possible and we’ll all pray that he stays with us for the ride.
Came in with a big reputation and got injured. Has took time to get back and find his feet in a new country and style of play but recently he’s flying. Never stops, like KLP is so positive and tries to create all the time. Could become a real fan favourite next season.
Bar a goal vs QPR he’s looked way of it. Seems to fall into the trap of neither being a runner like KLP or Longman, or a target man like Eaves, so loses the physical battle but doesn’t press high or get in behind either. I’m sure he’s able and the general reputation seems to be very positive but we just haven’t seen it at all.
Grant McCann was on the verge of ruining his improved reputation by the Autumn as he stubbornly refused to change formation and we sank ever lower. He did eventually though and the players response was fantastic. He developed a lot of the talent that has helped us stay up this year he deserves credit. Shota worried a few of us early doors but with Van Der Veen he seems to have galvanised the squad and the tactics at a perfect time which meant championship status was easily kept. He’ll have more first world problems next season and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue the upward surge.