Taylor needs time to placate the Hull faithful

Third Division: Tigers face challenge from Yeovil and Northampton
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Peter Taylor's attempt to rebuild a reputation badly scarred by his catastrophic reign as Leicester City manager continues this season as Hull City plan for a future befitting their impressive new stadium.

The former England coach, who took over from Jan Molby midway through last season to become the sixth Tigers manager in five years, has the full support of the chairman, Adam Pearson, but his reputation means little to a public who have endured one frustration after another, starting four of the last five seasons as favourites for promotion only to remain at the bottom level.

Now the supporters are running out of patience. "This time there can be no excuses," as the local paper made plain in a recent comment column. Taylor has added wisely to his staff, bringing in the prolific Notts County striker Danny Allsopp to form a front-line partnership with the former Stockport forward Ben Burgess that ought to bring much cheer to 18,000 crowds expected at the Kingston Communications Stadium.

The Tranmere pair Richard Hinds and Jason Price are other new arrivals, along with the former Tottenham centre back, Alton Thelwell.

Understandably, Taylor is attempting to keep expectations in check. "Of course, as manager, I'm looking to get us up but I don't want to get carried away," he said. "I know we've got a very good squad here. If the ball runs for us then we'll have a good season.

"But it might take two years - I don't know. If this team had played together for a year then I would be a lot more confident. It does take time." Taylor may not find supporters willing to indulge him, however, particularly if upstarts such as league newcomers Yeovil sail past them.

There is every chance that the Devon club, which arrives on a far more sound financial footing than most established lower division clubs, could emerge as genuine contenders in the way Rushden & Diamonds did, the latter having swept to the Third Division title in just two years.

Yeovil won the Conference by an impressive margin, finishing 17 points ahead of Doncaster, who won back their league place via the first Conference play-off final, and manager Gary Johnson says he has had only to fine tune his squad.

Another club with high big ambitions are Northampton Town, the relative big spenders of the division - they have shelled out £265,000 for midfielder Josh Low from Oldham Athletic and the Rangers defender Paul Reid - who have signed 12 new players, among them the Blackburn striker Marc Richards, ex-Leicester front man Lawrie Dudfield, former Huddersfield striker Martin Smith and Sheffield Wednesday defender Ashley Westwood.

In a strong statement of intent, the manager, Martin Wilkinson, said: "We are trying to create a footballing side with some technically very good players. We have got a pacy back four, pace down either flank and goalscorers."