One Way (Air) Ticket to Hull and Back (Preview)
Aston Villa are very quickly doing what every non-Villa football brain thought they could do when they were flying high early-on in the Premier League season. We've become knackered. No not tiredness, we are exhausted. The only thing is that for the team, like UK air traffic controllers, the worst is yet to come.
With no shiny pots to play for, and only now seemingly Europa League places at stake (unless something goes drastically different to the expected) one wonders if it is time for some Happy Days from none other than youngster Nathan Delfouneso!
The Villans are making the llllloooonnnnggggg journey to Hull (I know what it's like, I played there!) to play a side desperately trying to avoid a fate not quite as bad as POrtsmouth, but still a touch iffy.
Martin O'Neill is still considered to be one of the favourites to take over from Sir Chewalot at Theatre of Dreams, also known as the Salford University Silence Studies department. Worrying times if I lived in Kent as I'm not sure they'd particularly fancy Rio Ferdinand playing left back, and Berbatov playing on the left wing.
Irrelevant I guess? Perhaps. The Villa boss has been dampening fires this week, when he really should have been dampening an Icelandic Volcano! O'Neill was talking about James Milner, who has been the subject of growing speculation over his future. Monny muttered:
'It is irksome at this stage of the season,' said O'Neill. He's under contract with us and it's a case of dampening fires that weren't there in the first place.'
'He has had a really brilliant time, particularly since moving into the middle of midfield and I am delighted for him. We want the best players to stay here at Aston Villa so we can keep the momentum going.
'But I have kind of accepted it now. If it is not James it will be Ashley Young and if it is not Ashley it might be Richard Dunne and then someone else the following week.'
Speaking about his opposite number Ian Dowie and his struggling Tigers O'Neill was typically well behaved:
I think it is too easy for people to say you just need a change of manager and everything will be all right.
'It is just not as simple as that at all. You have to get to know players and I think that given the number of games you have to try and turn things around it is not that easy.
'Hull made the change and they brought him in and he is doing his utmost to keep them in the league. While there might be a cagey opening to the game against them I can't see the game developing along those lines at all because both sides have really got to go for it.'
Ian Dowie, the man hit by the ugly rainforest, has set his sights on similarly Championship worried West Ham as he looks to make a great escape from Stalag Luft Prem.
"If we win our game in hand, if we put decent points on the board in the next two games we'll be right in the shake-up. We're well aware of the threat that Villa pose. They're the third best team away from home in the league, we know what they bring."
"Martin's done a terrific job there, the money he's invested he's invested in great players, but we can't spend too much time worrying about what they'll bring to the party.'
I would, you don't want them to bring cheese and pineapple, sausage rolls and cheese and tomato pizza, if you have already bought the same! Jelly & Ice cream, copious amounts of beer and a stripper would of course be a viable alternative!
He continued by pointing out the obvious:
'They're as good a side as any in the country at counter-attacking in my opinion. We've got to make sure that we cope with their threats but also make sure we expose one or two weaknesses they have.'
Anyone think they may go down the left wing? Or sit back and wait for our strikers not to score?
Hull City Team News:
Hull City are struggling with the fitness of Dean Marney and Mernard Bendy (or Bernard Mendy, not sure.)
Anthony Gardner is unlikely to be risked after recovering from an ankle ligament injury. Caleb Folan may be another absentee.
Player to watch: All of 'em!
Desperately fighting relegation you'd have thought that Hull would be up for it!
Aston Villa Team News:
Yawn, un-changed side expected from Martin O'Neill. Only difference is that Fabian Delph has suffered a long-term injury and therefore will be unavailable for a considerable amount of time.
Player to watch: Fonz
Lets hope for more happy days! I expect the Fonz to get a run out in some capacity!
Match Facts & Stats
Hull, or Kingston-upon-Hull as it is properly known, is very far from Crewe, which is where I am.
It has a big bridge, it also has a football stadium next to a hockey stadium.
Phil Brown is no longer Hull City's manager. I believe he is now working as an alternative to the sun.
Hull has it's own phone system, and utilises beige phone boxes.
It is also twinned with Reykjavík which is in Iceland, who are now our enemies!
Along with the Blues, who are waiting for us just around the corner.
Mike Dean will oversee this one in an attempt to bring the RESPECT campaign back into order. Doubt it will work.
700-0 Villa, which should see Hull relegated for crimes to football.
The local neighbours pop across for what some Villa fans would consider the most important game of the season. Blues are in town on Sunday.
Thanks for reading folks!