The ideal pre-season for any club is building match fitness without picking up any injuries and developing the squad with new signings. Hull City are finding it difficult to do both as they picked up a fourth injury in another less than inspiring display against Mansfield Town, whilst the future of manager Steve Bruce still remains unclear.
Bruce for England?
The Bruce-England saga has been rolling since England departed early at Euro 2016 and seems to be on a continuous loop. Bruce himself looked a possibility to leave Hull when the club was put up for sale, before declaring "business as usual" on the way to Portugal, followed by an expression of "feeling privileged to be linked to the role". Yet today a club statement announced that "Steve Bruce had been in talks with England, although a formal approach from the FA had still not been received".
The statement ended with "we hope the situation is resolved as soon as possible" as the Tigers showed their frustration at the minimal clarity surrounding their manager. After a lack of signings and two less than inspiring friendly displays at the weekend, Hull require some stability to get their Premier League preparations up and running.
Hernandez returns but Dawson picks up injury
The Championship Playoff winners continued to look lost at Mansfield Town on Tuesday evening. The Stags matched the Yorkshire club in a tight first half that ended goalless, though Mo Diame fired just wide and Shaun Maloney squandered a one against one opportunity.
The visitors did begin to kick into life in the second half, as Jarrod Bowen, a star performer from the previous two friendlies, opened the scoring when he latched onto a Maloney pass. Greg Olley and trialist Peter Odemwingie both hit the woodwork late on, as Hull squeezed over the line with a 1-0 victory.
Steve Bruce would have been concerned with his side's performance for the majority of the game as they continued to look rusty. Yet more of a concern will be the loss of captain Michael Dawson to a knee injury in the first half.
Hull are already without the services of defenders Alex Bruce and Moses Odubajo for half of the season and they will be desperately hoping Dawson's injury is not as serious. However the Tigers did welcome back star striker Abel Hernandez who completed fifteen minutes on his return from international duty.