Take an inside look at Reading’s upcoming opponent, Hull City, with Freelance Football Journalist Tom Griffin from the hcafcHub podcast...

Talk us through Hull’s season thus far…

We were struggling at the start of the season, we struggled to adjust to life in the Championship, went on a run of about ten games without a win. And then the past four or five games we’ve seen a major improvement. We’ve won our last four and that’s largely down to a formation change. Grant McCann, after playing 4-3-3 for the majority of the season and largely failing with that, changed to a 3-5-2 and since then we’ve looked like a newly born team. It looks like we actually belong at this level now. So I’d describe the season as a very poor start but we’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks and that’s mainly down to the formation change.

We’ve gone from a very poor team to what looks like a well-oiled machine and McCann in doing so has sort of saved his job. There’s a few people calling for his name but the majority are now on his side.

Speaking of Grant McCann, how would you evaluate his tenure so far?

The first season he was in was the 2019/20 season when we had two star players in Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki and they carried that team. We were pushing towards the playoffs in but then Bowen and Grosicki departed in January and we went on a very long winless run including an 8-0 loss to Wigan and we were subsequently relegated. Me and a lot of other supporters were calling for his head, but last season he bounced back and proved he’s a good League One manager, made some astute signings, and got us promoted. 

Reading Chronicle: Recent good form seems to have saved Grant McCann's job. Image by: PARecent good form seems to have saved Grant McCann's job. Image by: PA

In terms of Grant McCann’s reign, we’ve had some very good patches, some very good moments. Last season’s title win was our first since 1966, so that was a large positive. A lot of people were willing to give him a chance this season but fans became increasingly frustrated with the way we’ve played, we were rooted to the bottom of the league with Derby. But then the last four or five weeks, even before our winning run, we’ve seen an upturn in our performances. I don’t think anyone expected McCann to be at the club this long but now we want him in. Hopefully, he can keep us up this season.

Currently sitting 19th in the Championship table, what do you think is the aim for Hull this season?

To consolidate I think. We’ve gone through a very rough time as a club over the past five years. Relegated from the Premier League, three seasons in the Championship before being relegated and then ultimately last season we were good value for our title win. But in terms of this season, from my point of view, it was always to consolidate and see where we’re at at the end of the season. I think it would be a realistic achievement to stay up. There were question marks at the start of the season whether that would be possible, but in recent weeks the good run of form give you encouragement that we can stay in this division. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Hull team?

Where we have struggled in recent seasons is from set-pieces. So Reading’s height and especially Andy Carroll’s physical presence could take advantage of that. That’s one area where I think we can struggle. But all season we’ve been quite strong defensively, you look at the amount of goals conceded and we’ve conceded a similar number or less than teams pushing towards the top six. So it shows we have been solid defensively and we’ve not been turned over in a lot of games. But we’ve struggled to find the net and strike that balance between defending well and punishing teams on the counter-attack. But now we’ve struck that balance with this new system and it’s promising times to be a Hull City fan.

Players likely to cause Reading problems?

Keane Lewis-Potter


Age: 20

Squad #: 11

Reading Chronicle: Keane Lewis-Potter celebrates after scoring against Barnsley. Image by: PAKeane Lewis-Potter celebrates after scoring against Barnsley. Image by: PA

The major one is Keane Lewis-Potter. Although he’s playing in a different position to what he’s normally used to, from that left wing-back position he can cause problems and we do play quite attacking, we push the wing-backs high up the pitch.

George Honeyman


Age: 27

Squad #: 10

Reading Chronicle: George Honeyman goes in for a tackle against Cardiff. Image by: PAGeorge Honeyman goes in for a tackle against Cardiff. Image by: PA

George Honeyman is the figurehead of that midfield, he’s the energy, he’s got the tenacity, he makes late runs into the box, and he’s got a knack for being in the right place at the right time. 

Di’Shon Bernard


Age: 21

Squad #: 24

Reading Chronicle: Manchester United loanee Di'Shon Bernard in action vs Middlesbrough. Image by: PAManchester United loanee Di'Shon Bernard in action vs Middlesbrough. Image by: PA

He’s been a revelation since joining from Manchester United on loan. Every single week he’s come on leaps and bounds. He brings the ball out with such assurance, he’s comfortable in possession, he starts attacks, and he’s a great one on one defender. I’ve not seen many forwards in this league including the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic beat him in a physical battle or in a footrace. Judging from what we’ve seen this season, he’ll go on to have a superb career at the top of the English game.

Score Prediction?
I’m going to go 1-0 to Hull City.

Tom Griffin can be found on Twitter at @_journotom or on hcafcHub.