They say that in the Play Off`s, form counts for nothing – thankfully. If form counted for anything in this end-of-season-lottery then the Hornets might as well not bother with tomorrow`s clash. However, 1 win in 14 means nothing and so 3rd place Hull will be quaking in their boots afterall. Only in football eh?
Hull`s promotion dream was kept alive until the final day of the season largely thanks to a crucial win over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago. A thumping header from Ian Ashbee, Tiger`s skipper, was enough to hand them three points and a lifeline, however, harsh game that football is, Stoke pipped the Yorkshire outfit to 2nd spot. However, when you consider that the Tigers have climbed all the way from the bottom of the football league ladder since the turn of the Millennium, it`s about time they had something go against them. Now in their third season at this level, Phil Brown`s side are the largest city to have never played top flight football – will that statistic stand after 180, possibly 270 minutes of football?
Frazier Campbell, Manchester United loanee doesn`t want ‘his` side to reach the play off final as it would mean missing the all-English Champions League Final with his parent club. Now, in the world of Bodell, an old-fashioned, un-pathetically-p.c-world, master Campbell would`ve been on his bike [or is that moped these days?] on his way to Manchester if that`s how he feels. But with the goals he`s notched this season, he`s been an important part of the Tiger`s progression and injury or suspension would be killer. Pacey, powerful, direct and a neat finisher with 15 goals Campbell is the perfect foil for Dean Windass.
Now 38, Dean Windass has enjoyed a number of years in the game with several clubs including Bradford City and Middlesbrough. Having re-arrived from Bradford last season, the powerful veteran has notched 11 times this year having virtually ensured his new-old sides Championship safety this time last year. Windass is currently subject to a campaign from a Facebook group campaigning for the erection of a ‘Dean Windass` statue outside the K.C Stadium and when he`s approaching 200 league goals for seven clubs, it`s easy to understand why.
In midfield, Jay-Jay Okocha is another veteran but despite the advancing years, the Nigerian is still highly influential. It says a lot too when a player returns from oil-rich Qatar to play out his remaining days in cold and wet Yorkshire. The former Bolton skipper is unavailable for the first leg due to a long-standing injury, but he could well be the man to light up the second leg at the K.C Stadium – incidentally the stadium with the longest name in the Football League.
Fellow midfield schemer Ian Ashbee has proven his worth this season with 43 league starts the skipper has proved his worth once again this season slogging away in the midfield whilst the likes of Dean Marney, Okocha and Garcia galavant off to collect the headlines. Indeed, Ashbee`s header it was that sank Palace recently and that, his third of the season was his eighth for Hull in 193 games; but then, how many goals has the rugged 31 year-old stopped? Precisely.
Rugged Like John Eustace
Neat Finisher Like Tamas Priskin
Second spot Like Hull?
Come on the Horns!
Myhill; Ricketts, Brown, Turner, Dawson; Marney, Ashbee, Hughes, Garcia; Campbell and Windass.