Well, its been a bloody long season, with many ups and downs, but City are finally safe.
I will start by saying fair play to Nigel Atkins. He took over a club in disarray, who were absolute certainties to go down and, while the club is still somewhat in disarray, he has absolutely turned the team around. The Loan signing of Harry Wilson from Liverpool was an act of absolute genius, and the team have responded to his tactics and have managed to turn the season around. That being said, I don’t think Nigel Atkins should be manager at the beginning of next season. He has done a brilliant job in keeping us up, but that is not where the club should be. I think he needs to be replaced by an up and coming young manager, possibly even the likes of the Cowley brothers if they are willing to take on the job. Despite all of this, if the ownership doesn’t change, I can’t see City attracting the best of the talent and the best of managers.
What’s more with Atkins, I would like to see more ambition. If he does stay, I would like to see City start to play some more attacking football. We have scored a lot of goals this season, granted, but we have rarely managed to constantly pressurize a defence for 90 minutes. If you look at the attacking force City have on paper, it sounds unstoppable. Should Hernandez stay in the summer, City will definitely benefit from a full season from him, especially working with Jarrod Bowen and hopefully Harry Wilson. That will be huge. I think if we can convince Jurgen Klopp to allow us to have Wilson for another season to continue his development, then that will be the difference in City going up or not. I think they certainly should be fighting for at least a top 10 finish, even maybe a cheeky play-off push. Wherever they finish, it needs to be an improvement on this year.
However, I don’t believe this is possible without MAJOR changes to the defence. The defence is clearly the reason why City haven’t done much this season. The defence provides no barrier for Allan McGregor whatsoever, and has really let City down. City will lose Aina, Tomori and Hector to Chelsea, a deal is supposedly in place to take Michael Dawson back to his hometown club Nottingham Forest, which just leaves Angus MacDonald and Ondrej Mazuch as centre backs.
As much as I think they’re decent players, they will not be enough to put city in a good position in the league. We need two new centre backs for sure. Premier League experienced centre backs. We’re alright for full backs, with Moses Odubajo to come back – god he’ll be like a new signing. Maybe one more fullback would just make things more comfortable should we get any injuries.
There is absolutely no reason at all that City cannot be pushing for Promotion next season. I think every City fan would be happy with a top 10 finish after the disastrous season this year, but the main thing they will want to see is an improvement. A sign that the club is still fighting and its aim is up. Whether this be with the Allams or not, everyone really needs to get behind the team next year and cheer them to victory.
This article first appeared in FanaticHull Issue 35. To buy it, click here