A familiar tale of woe was again the story for Hull City on Saturday afternoon, as they were comfortably beaten by play-off chasing Stoke City.

The Potters 2-0 scoreline suggested it was a regulation victory and so it proved against a side destined for an immediate return to League One, unless something changes, and quickly.

City cannot score and at the other end, concede with too much ease and with those things not in your favour coupled with the stats which back up their obvious issues, the outcome looks to be quite straightforward.

There are 37 games remaining yet and talk of relegation may seem a long, long way off in late September, but if City are to avoid a long, hard winter, then they must improve and improve quickly.

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Coming up short…

Preston aside, one harsh reality of life back in the Championship for Hull City has been the fact the squad as it stands, is just not good enough.

There’s no lack of effort from any of the players, they work tirelessly and give their all for the shirt but they’re coming up short where it matters.

For all their nice play in between the boxes, what matters is what happens in both boxes and that’s where Grant McCann’s men are coming up badly short.

City had Stoke pinned back for large parts of that first half, barely 10 minutes had been played when the home fans were getting frustrated at their side and that was the time to strike, to get the goal in front and make them chase the game.

All that good play, hitting the post and one or two other good moments and then bang, from a City attack Stoke carve through the heart of McCann’s side like a knife through butter and the opening goal follows.

In that moment the game is done, and in truth, it never felt like there would be a way back from that goal.

The second from Nick Powell, a finely struck free-kick just gave us all the closure quite early on into the second period that it would be game over.

Stop playing Stoke…

The record before the game was bad enough when it came to playing the Potters. Three wins in 18 games was hardly reason to get too excited, and with how it went here, that’s now stretched to three wins in 19 games.

That's also now seven straight wins for Stoke against City, scoring 16 conceding just twice.

Stoke City are one of the most welcoming in the Football League, have a lovely, modern stadium from which to watch your side lose, but heck, if City can stop playing them and losing every time, it would be most appreciated.

Hull City manager Grant McCann at Stoke City

Missing men

Grant McCann has been around long enough to know how football works, and the last thing he needs is anyone sticking up for him.

It is, however, hard not to feel an element of sympathy for a man stuck in a situation such as the one he finds himself in.

Since the start of the season, McCann has not once been able to call upon the side which won the League One title last season, the closest he came was on the opening day when only George Honeyman was missing at Deepdale.

Last Saturday against Sheffield United he got Honeyman back but lost Greg Docherty, and this week he gets Docherty back and loses Honeyman.

City’s strongest 11 need to be out there on the pitch week in, week out, if they’re to have any chance of getting results in this division and its been telling so far that not once has he been able to put that out.

If, and when, McCann can name Honeyman and Docherty in the middle of the park, with a fully fit Mallik Wilks engaged, Tom Huddlestone or Richie Smallwood fit and firing then there’s a chance.

And that’s without mentioning his small budget or having to work within a transfer embargo.

Look, McCann’s record as a manager in the Championship isn’t great and does not make for happy reading, of that, there’s no doubt, however, the situation is not as cut and dried as some would have you believe.

Changing the manager will not change the problems at this football club, it will simply be a case of kicking the can down the road.

Mallik Wilks #7 of Hull City goes over in the box but there was no penalty

Must win

Tuesday night’s home clash with Blackpool may only be the tenth game of the season which is still only six weeks old, but already it feels like a must win occasion for City.

After nine games, City are the worst team in the division, and they’re only off the bottom of the table by virtue of the fact Derby County have been deducted 12 points.

Blackpool have acclimatised to life in the second tier far better than McCann’s side have so far, winning three and sitting 14 th with 11 points, six more than the Tigers.

With successive home games to come in the next week against Blackpool and then Middlesbrough on Saturday, getting that first win is of paramount importance, to lift the gloom, to raise spirits and give the players some confidence.

Not only that, City fans haven’t seen a win in front of their own fans since December 2019 – a ridiculous amount of time and they’re due a result.

Surely it has to come and come soon?

Nick Powell #25 of Stoke City celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 against Hull City

Takeover talk…

Much of the fans’ frustration was aimed at the Allam family throughout the afternoon and while the players were clapped off at the end of the game, only a little criticism was aimed at the manager.

With continued speculation surrounding the potential takeover of Acun Ilicali, fans are clinging onto the hope that the Allam era could be coming to an end.

It’s only right to remain sceptical about potential new investment and the likelihood of that, but what is obvious and has been for a long time that this is a club devoid of leadership and one desperate for new direction.

Without wishing to rake over well-trodden ground, the relationship between the owners and the supporters has long since eroded and again, it’s being played out in the stands in front of a group of players giving their absolute best for a football club engulfed in civil war.

Whether Ilicali’s intentions are genuine or merely aimed at raising his profile, there’s no doubt that this is a football crying out for a new way forward.