Ray Parlour may be a name more readily associated with Arsenal and England, but the talented midfielder ended his professional career by helping Hull City avoid relegation from the Championship back in 2007.
And when Ladbrokes News met up with the Romford Pelé earlier this week, he was keen to give his thoughts on the Tigers’ homegrown talents, Premier League survival hopes and how they’ll handle the January transfer window.
Keep reading for all that and more…
Ladbrokes News: Another of your former clubs, Hull City, are also battling against the drop. They’ve been written off by a lot of pundits and fans alike – but do you think they have the quality to stay up, or is it a bridge too far?
Ray Parlour: It’s going to be difficult, but I think the Hull fans are realistic about that. You look at their last game, away at West Ham. They played very well, hit the post three or four times and ended up losing 1-0. So Mike Phelan must be scratching his head and wondering how they didn’t take something from it.
They just need to keep battling for every point, because if they play that well most weeks, they will start to move up the table.
I think this Hull side do need with more clinical strikers, but they’ve definitely got quality in the squad. Robert Snodgrass is an excellent player and very experienced, and I’d say the same about the likes of Michael Dawson and Jake Livermore.
They’re only three points off Crystal Palace in 17th, so a couple of wins could completely change the picture. Realistically, it’s a very tough ask, but I certainly wouldn’t write them off yet.
LN: There was a lot of attention on how little they spent in the summer after coming up. Do you think the club will splash the cash in January, or do you think we’ll see another quiet window at the KCOM Stadium?
RP: That’s the big decision these chairmen have to make. Yes, they’ll have a better chance of survival this time around if they splash the cash on two or three big players, or do they save that money and put the faith in the players already at the club.
Many clubs in Hull’s position would take that financial gamble, and bring in several players, and I think that’s what they ought to do.
One or two of the clubs around them, like Sunderland have said they’re not planning to spend in January, so if Hull can add that extra quality, it could well give them that crucial edge on the other sides in the relegation battle.
LN: One result of their low spending has been a lot of young British players getting a chance – the likes of Andrew Robertson, Harry Maguire and 17-year-old Joshua Tymon being three such examples. Would you say it’s a good club for young players to progress at?
RP: The academy and Development Squad at Hull have been a success, and I think it’s good to have that balance of British guys and foreign players in any squad.
It’s nice to see emerging homegrown players getting a chance at Premier League level, because a lot of the youngsters at big clubs have to go out on loan to try and get game time.
LN: One bright spot for the club is the fact they’ve made it to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, where they’ll face Manchester United. How big a boost will this cup run give the Tigers? And is there any chance they can overcome the Red Devils over two legs?
RP: It’s a big ask, but I’m sure Mike will play the strongest side he has available, and reaching a cup final would give everyone at the KCOM Stadium a real optimism.
Beating Man United looks a tougher task now than it did a month or so ago. They’re beginning to click into gear, but Hull have a manager who spent years in the dugout at Old Trafford and will have a good idea about how United will set up.
They’re obviously the underdogs in this tie, but if Hull believe in themselves, there’s an opportunity for a famous upset.
Next up for Hull City is the visit of Manchester City on Boxing Day, with the Tigers 8/1 for victory against Pep Guardiola’s men.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing