Hull City v West Ham United

Preview Percy doesn't enjoy international breaks because he doesn't get to do his thing. Funnily enough we enjoy them for precisely the same reason. However, if for some unaccountable reason, you've missed him, he is back and here's his look at this weekend's trip to Hull.....

Next up we make the trek up to what used to be called the East Riding of Yorkshire but probably isn't any more where we will be hosted by Hull City. Kick off is 3pm on Saturday which is nice. Travel news? Well how's this for joined up planning?: This weekend the engineering works that have blighted journeys to and from the Olympic Stadium on the Greater Anglia lines through Stratford are not happening. That's right. While we are away. They are bringing them back of course. Next weekend while we are at home. Your journey between King's Cross and Hull should be clear, however, should you be going by train. Roads? There are lane closures on the M11 around Cambridge should that form part of your preferred route. I'd check before you leave if that were me.

So Hull City then. Hull play in a stadium that they keep messing around with, name wise. It used to be the KC stadium. Now it's the KCOM. I much prefer the KC as a sponsor name as it means that it can be referred to as "The Sunshine Stadium", thus cutting out the ugliness of sponsorship. Incidentally, for years Hull has been a bit of an anomaly insofar as the local phone system was owned by the local council, rather than the Post Office (and later BT or whoever). To this day BT won't go there. The company was floated on the stock exchange in the 1990's and it was the sale by the council of a chunk of its shares in the company that paid for the stadium that is still municipally-owned to this day. So there you have it. The council builds a stadium for ?44m in Hull and nobody bats an eyelid. However, if it happens in London the papers can't wait to plunge the knives in. Funny that.

At present, they are third from bottom with 24 points from the 29 played thus far. That's three points behind Swansea and a further point behind Palace who occupy the places immediately above the trapdoor, though Palace also have a game in hand on both the Taffs and the Tigers.

Last time out, if you can remember that far back and didn't have the will to live sucked out of you by watching England v Lithuania, they came a bit of a cropper on Merseyside where Everton tonked them 4-0. Slightly more significant was their win the previous week where they overcame a slightly resurgent Swansea 2-1. My spies tell me that the Welsh lot were having the better of the match before first-half injuries to Rangel and Llorente completely threw them off beam.

They are on their third manager of the season. Steve Bruce quit in July, barely having caught breath following the play-off win over Sheffield Wednesday that got them promoted. Despite there being a major shortage of players due to injuries, contracts having expired and a failure to bring in new recruits they managed to win their opening pair of games under caretaker boss Mike Phelan who was eventually given the job on a permanent basis. That definition of the word "permanent" turned out to mean "less than 3 months with Phelan being dismissed on the first working day of the new year, with Marco Silva being appointed shortly after.

Silva had a decent start to his career on Humberside, numbering both Liverpool and Moan Utd amongst his scalps in his opening few weeks. However, the latter win was of limited use coming as it did in a 2-1 League Cup semi-final second leg win in a match that they happened to be 2-0 down in.

Silva was appointed by the "about as popular as Piers Morgan" club owner Assem Allam. He's still at the helm despite saying back in November that he wanted shot of the club, whose supporters he alienated by announcing a name change to Hull City Tigers. His justification for this was that "City" was a bit dull and claimed that if he owned Manchester City he would change the name to Manchester Hunters. The last time the work experience girl wearing a "Everything But The Girl" T-shirt without knowing who they are got to do any research on them they looked likely to be flogged to a Chinese consortium. However, things have gone very quiet on that front and Allam is still in charge.

It is possible that any future owners might want a better idea of what division their purchase will be in next season, possibly thinking it prudent to hang on a couple of months to ensure they don't pay a Premier League price for a Championship club. Thus Allam, possibly with one eye on a sale going down the Kermit, sanctioned a few incomings over the January window, though rather than put his hand in his pocket they seem to have largely been financed by the sale of a certain R Snodgrass for ?10.2m. and the sale of Jake Livermore whose similar fee was not to be sniffed at when West Brom came a knocking.

The first "new" signing of the year turned out to be nothing of the sort. Markus Henriksen signed on the dotted line as far back as August on loan from AZ Alkmaar in a deal that automatically became permanent at the turn of the year.

They also brought in the "suspiciously-named-for-a-South American" Evrando Goebel. The Brazilian midfielder (who also has Serbian citizenship, you know as part of that whole "Brazil-Serbia" thing) came in for a reported ?2m fee. He was part of a World Youth Cup winning Brazilian Squad but given that was 12 years ago and he is now 30 he's probably not waiting for a phone call from CBF about the possibility of adding a full cap or two to the 14 U20 caps he already has.

Slightly more experienced on the international front is striker Kamil Grosicki, who has 49 sets of full international headwear of the Polish variety. Grosicki had looked to be close to signing for Burnley during the last window but the fee was allegedly too rich for them, possibly causing Sean Dyche to choke on his breakfast. It's difficult to tell, obviously. French outfit Rennais (the only club in Europe named after a cure for indigestion) were his previous employers.

They made full use of the loan market this winter. With another place being freed-up by the switch of Henniksen to permanent terms, in came Omar Elabdellaoui. His is a "loan with an option" deal with Greek outfit Olympiakos, for whom he had been captain. It's not Elabdellaoui's first time in England, the Norwegian right back/midfielder having spent a couple of years on Man City's books, though he spent all that time on loan elsewhere.

They also brought in the out of favour Lazar Markovic on loan from Liverpool. Well it says Liverpool here but he was actually on a season-long loan at Sporting Lisbon (as I still like to call them) when the scousers rang up and said "get your backside back to Blighty, Hull City want you". Possibly motivated by the fact that he had only made 6 league appearances for Sporting all season, he hopped on the plane and ended up on Humberside (or London Hull Airport as Ryanair probably market it if such a place exists). The Serb cost Liverpool a whopping ?20m when they brought him in from Benfica back in 2014, although Benfica only got half of that, half the player being owned by someone else apparently. He missed out on a spot in the final of the 2014 Thursday Night League by managing the neat trick of getting himself sent off after he had been subbed in the semi-final. He got into a fight with Juventus's Mirko Vucinic who was on the bench and both were issued straight reds. Vucinic represents Montenegro thus confirming the suspicion that, whilst the civil war that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia may now be over, grudges are still being held in that part of the world.

The defence was bolstered by the appearance of Albert Ranocchia from Inter. Although he has over 100 appearances for the Milan outfit to his name, the former skipper has fallen down the pecking order over here and sent time out on loan over at Sampdoria last season before arriving here in January, joining ex-Sunderland midfielder Alfred Ndaye as a last day loan signing.

And so to us Oh Leicester was it? First half shambles. Second half better sums it up. In fact had Ayew put that sitter away I reckon we'd have won that one, such was the one way nature of the second half. He didn't and we didn't. We've had worse halves this season and won (notably against our opponents this weekend) so I can't get that worked up about it now, other than to say I do wish pundits would stop praising the likes of Vardy and Okazaki for their "cleverness" in going down and winning free-kicks irrespective of the little detail of whether or not there had actually been a foul. If I want Man City levels of hypocrisy I'll lower myself to going up there thank you.

Injury news isn't great. Reid is looking at the end of April for a return. Antonio will miss this one but but may be about for Arsenal in midweek. However, that may well be pretty much it for Obiang's season. The skipper will be back of course in case any of the twitterati were getting withdrawal symptoms from making idiots of themselves. And the word is that Sakho may be getting closer - the manager claimed that he wants to play in this one but I wouldn't be wanting to risk my hard-earned on him appearing this weekend.

So a prediction then. Well we are suffering from those twin problems of poor form and indifferent luck. Despite their current position the change of management has done Hull some good, particularly at home where they have won three and drawn two of their last five. The injuries we have had have robbed us of three vital players. And my bunion hurts. Probably a good time to be playing us then. On the other hand the evenings are getting a bit lighter even if all the clocks are for some reason an hour wrong, and, well I'm clutching at straws optimism-wise here. However, much against my better judgement I'm going to plump for a draw. So it's off to Winstone The Turf Accountants with the ?2.50 I was going to give to Comic Relief (seriously? People actually pay for the "privilege" of prolonging Lenny Henry's bloody career?????) on a battling 1-1 draw.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Sunshine Stadium Drew 2-2 (Premier League September 2014) We came from behind twice to claim a share of the points. Valencia's piledriver and Sakho's deflected shot cancelling out efforts from Hernandez and Diame. We hit the bar in the closing moments and you won't be too surprised to discover that the ref was Martin Atkinson as it usually seems to be.

Referee: Mike Jones. Highly untrustworthy official who is detested equally by players and officials alike. In case you were wondering, they are saving Atkinson for Wednesday.

Danger Man: Abel Hernandez. Normally one would go for the top scorer but on this occasion that happens to be Robert Snodgrass. Hernandez has caused us problems in the past.

Percy's Poser: Last time out, if your memory is that good we asked you why Leicester City Council took out full page adverts in the Ugandan national press back in 1972. The answer was that the then (rather unpleasant) dictator of Uganda Idi Amin had decided to expel anyone of Indian subcontinental origin from Uganda. Apparently horrified at the prospect of having to play host to anyone coming in from Uganda, the good burghers of Leicester decided to advertise in the local press urging Ugandans not to come to Leicester. Congratulations to Mrs Bridie Farage (no relation, she promises me) who was the first out of the digital hat with the correct answer. Bridie also provided some extra information pointing out that the plan had backfired somewhat since nobody outside the UK had ever heard of Leicester and, until its existence had been spotlighted by the adverts, nobody had previously had the slightest intention of going there. Mrs F wins something or other, I forget what exactly. Well done Bridie.

For this week's poser we ask you: What part in UK popular music history was played by Turner's Furniture Store on the Beverley Road, Hull. As a tie breaker you must also answer the question Hull is the UK city of culture 12 words or less. First correct answer out of the digital hat will win a signed photograph of the Humber Bridge.

Good luck everyone!

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