EFL expert Andy Hinchcliffe has admitted he was worrying about Hull City following the departures of both Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in January.
Talisman Bowen had been attracting Premier League attention for a while following a string of influential performances for the Tigers both last season and this campaign. He eventually left on deadline day, departing for Premier League side West Ham United for a reported £22m.
Poland international Grosicki hasn’t made the jump straight back into the Premier League as he joined West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies sit in an automatic promotion place and look destined to return to the Premier League after just two seasons in the Sky Bet Championship.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ EFL Podcast, Hinchcliffe spoke of the duo’s departure from the KCOM Stadium: “I remember we were working together on the Hull vs Brentford game and that was after Grosicki and Bowen had both left the club.
“We were talking about what would happen to Hull from here on in and the psychological blow to the rest of the squad from losing your star players.
“I did worry about Hull at the time, they lost 5-1 against Brentford and were absolutely awful defensively.”
Both Bowen and Grosicki departed on the final day of the January transfer window and this has had a detrimental effect on the remaining squad. Since that day, the Tigers have only picked up two points in eight games. Their inability to win a game of football has coincided with the departure of their creative forces.
Hinchcliffe continued: “From that point on [Bowen and Grosicki leaving], they’ve not won a game. They’ve lost six of the eight games that they’ve played in the Championship. So, it’s pretty clear that there’s been a blow to the squad.
“It just takes away that knowledge that you have players that can win a game for you. You might concede one or two, but those players could score three or four, that’s now gone.
“Nothing had improved and looking at the six or seven sides who are in the relegation fight, Hull are the team that I think have got the most to do to save themselves and sadly I don’t see it happening.”
Hull find themselves just a single place and two points ahead of Charlton Athletic who are in the final place in the bottom three. These two clash on Saturday at the KCOM in what can only be described as a relegation six-pointer.
Hinchcliffe is absolutely right. Hull have massively struggled since the departure of their key creative forces. Bowen was that type of player who only needed half a chance to put the ball in the back of the net and has shown that instinct straight away with West Ham. Grosicki is another tough one to lose because he was the one who was the architect when Hull were in the final third. The Pole could see passes that nobody else could and split defences into pieces.
Marcus Maddison of Peterborough United was drafted in on loan to try and replace the creativity that they had lost. Maddison had been outstanding for Posh in the last few years and deserved his chance to play in the Sky Bet Championship. Unfortunately, he has taken a while to get going which has seen Hull struggle to score goals in recent weeks.
Grant McCann has a real tough challenge to keep Hull City in the second division, and without Bowen and Grosicki, it is tough to see a brighter future.