It’s another challenge for us to be sure
Micky Phelan’s first Turf Moor appearance in a first team game came in February 1980 when he stood in at centre half for the injured Vince Overson and tomorrow he returns as caretaker manager of Hull City.
Not only is he the caretaker manager of Hull but he’s also the Premier League’s Barclays Manager of the Month for August after winning his first two league games in charge against last season’s champions Leicester and then at Swansea.
He’s in talks with Hull over taking the job on a permanent basis having held the temporary position since Steve Bruce opted to leave, but that doesn’t appear to be close right now although he has said that he hopes that he will be able to take the job.
Asked if it was special returning to Burnley, Phelan said: “It’s no more special than it always is, I enjoy every game that I’m involved in. The preparation’s important, be it Burnley or anyone else. Yes, my family background is from that area but we have to put that to one side. It’s never been a happy hunting ground for Hull in the past so we need to make amends for that.”
Phelan was able to bring in a number of new players as the window closed and he said: “They’re all available and we’ve got the full complement of a squad to take with us so we will be ready for the challenge ahead. We have selection problems now but I think the players in the main who have got us to where we are have done really well so it would be wrong of me to automatically dismiss them.”
It was no fewer than five players brought in during that final day. “Busy and hectic,” Phelan said. “It was quite enthralling at times. It was an early half past six start and I think I got away about half past twelve when it all concluded, but it was quite a good day. Deals start early and they finish late and it all seems to go on and on.”
Now it is back to the football, and back to where it all started for him. “The game at Burnley now, it could be said to be a big game,” he admitted. “We’ve started well but I don’t consider us favourites. Burnley won the Championship last year and we finished fourth so I don’t think it’s a game we should be worried about.
“I think it’s a game we should enjoy. We’re in good form, we’re in good spirits. We have now got places that are going to be challenged on the football field. Hopefully we will rise to the occasion.”
Sean Dyche too had a busy deadline day. Having got Patrick Bamford earlier in the week and having missed out on a Dutch player, we signed Jeff Hendrick and missed out on adding Dale Stephens and Kamil Grosicki for very different reasons.
The manager is looking forward with his new players. He said: “We don’t put any onus on the players, other than to play well. That’s certainly nothing to do with the fees we’ve paid. Our spending is not a statement of intent either, it’s just the reality of the market.
“The numbers are not relevant any more. They should be, but the market has no rules anymore. True value and worth are out of the window now. It’s just that you pay the price, or you don’t and that has made it considerably more difficult.
“It’s not just me saying it either, some of the superpower clubs are saying it and they have multi-millions to throw around, but the lad who have come in will enhance the group and they are different types of players.
“With regards to the new lads, we feel that Patrick is a different type of centre forward than we have already in the building and that applies to Jeff too. It’s always the prime objective to enhance the group and take it forwards and we feel those players can.”
The international break brought temporary departures from Gawthorpe, maybe a record for the club. “There were seven away this time, which is fantastic,” Dyche said. “It’s great that a club like ours has seven recognised international players, but the balance is we lose them for ten days so we can’t do tactical work with the team.
“Nonetheless, it’s good for them to be playing international football and we’ve had a good mixture of rest and recuperation for the rest.”
Hull have surprised a few with their start given the turmoil and injuries, but Dyche wasn’t fooled by all that. He added: “A lot was made of the injuries they had at the start of the season, but if you look through they still have a strong squad. A lot of very experienced players are still there from the last time in the Premier League, so we certainly think they are a good side.
“Although they have had their well documented ups and downs off the pitch recently, Mike has done well to stay out of that and in my experience of knowing him a little, I think he won’t be over thinking all that has gone on there.
“He’s been around football long enough to know there are indifferent times at clubs and he has just got on with the job of working with the players, rather than reading too much into things. Fair play to him for that, of course, and his players, because they have gone well so far, so it’s another challenge for us to be sure.”Follow UpTheClarets:
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