Less than month remains until the Football League campaign is due to kick off and Hull City are finally starting to offer fans reason to be optimistic.
Two new signings have come in the last two days – David Milinkovic and Reece Burke from Genoa and West Ham United respectively – while another is expected to be confirmed today, in the shape of PSV centre-back Jordy de Wijs.
Throw into the mix new right-back Eric Lichaj and City’s recruitment drive is approaching top gear as the head coach bids to replace the plethora of senior players that left the club earlier in the window.
Nevertheless, the club must now ensure the four new signings are just the start of their activity in the window with Nigel Adkins’ squad still dangerously short on numbers.
As such, while City continue their preparations for the fast approaching Championship season, we take a look at what the club still needs to bring in before the deadline on August 9.
The capture of Eric Lichaj from Nottingham Forest may go a long way towards filling the hole left by Ola Aina and Fikayo Tomori’s return to parent club Chelsea at the end of last season.
The US international is expected to be the club’s first-choice right-back under Adkins this campaign and he arrives looking to replicate his form at the City Ground, where he was held in high regard by the fans.
However, cover is needed in order for the head coach to be able to breathe easy and last night’s pre-season friendly win over Maritimo showed the true death of options at fullback within the City squad.
Starting the first half, Lichaj was replaced at the interval, along with the entirety of the starting XI, by makeshift right-back Billy Chadwick. The 18-year-old is a centre midfielder by trade but was no doubt happy to fill a hole in the defensive line for a chance in the first-team during the club’s warm weather camp in Portugal.
This time last year few would have predicted Max Clark to feature prominently at left-back for the Tigers, having failed to make a single competitive appearance for his home town club before starting on the opening day of the season against Aston Villa.
The signing of Stephen Kingsley was supposed to go some way towards filling the gaping hole left by Andy Robertson last summer, but injury struck just five games into his City career allowing Clark to go on and make 30 appearances for the Tigers.
However, the 22-year-old decided against extending his City career and instead opted to join Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, leaving the Tigers short of options on the left.
The now fit Kingsley will no doubt be expected to be the first choice this season, but once more senior cover is needed, especially given the Scot’s temperamental injury record since joining the club.
The loss of Seb Larsson will have been felt hard by Nigel Adkins this summer. The Swede was a pivotal cog in the head coach’s style last season, providing the energy and tenacity in the middle of the park to drive the Tigers away from the relegation zone.
Adkins had high hopes Larsson could be persuaded to extend his stay beyond the end of the season, but just days before the World Cup started last month it was announced he was to return home after agreeing a deal to join AIK.
It not only leaves City without their best midfielder but also without the experience and leadership Larsson offered and that will be hard to replace, only accentuated by the release of David Meyler which, of course, leaves the club even shorter on numbers in the middle.
Dan Batty’s graduation to the first-team will help to fill holes on occasion but the head coach needs at least one midfielder, perhaps even two, with experience being a key asset.
The Tigers were blessed with talent in wide areas last season, the statistics certainly prove that, with Jarrod Bowen finishing the season as the club’s top scorer, despite an inconsistent campaign Kamil Grosicki finished second with nine, while Harry Wilson bagged seven.
However, Wilson has since returned to Liverpool, and while the club have managed to land Serbian winger David Milinkovic from Genoa this summer, who plays predominantly on the left, another winger would certainly not go amiss.
After such an inspired spell at the KCOM, City are thought to harbour ambitions of bringing Wilson back to East Yorkshire this summer on loan.
Abel Hernandez made just ten appearances last season after picking up debilitating Achilles injury in August, but still managed to score eight Championship goals.
Unfortunately though, City won’t have the Uruguayan to dig them out of trouble this time around. Hernandez rejected the chance to stay at Hull City this summer in favour of a fresh start elsewhere and it leaves Adkins approaching the new campaign with a strike force consisting of Fraizer Campbell, Nouha Dicko and Will Keane.
The trio scored a combined total of 11 league goals last season and therefore Adkins will be keen to strengthen his hand up front by landing a new talismanic striker before the season starts, to score the goals that could see City better last season’s 18th placed finish.