Stay of execution for Hull's dead man walking

It is doubly unfortunate for Phil Brown that Hull City's opponents in a match which could be his last as the Tigers' manager should be Stoke City.

While Hull have taken just 16 points from the 29 Premier League matches they have played in 2009, the Potters have amassed 41, a contrast in achievement which a growing number of Tigers fans believe illustrates why, despite Brown's repeated and faintly desperate claim that he is the most successful manager in the club's history, the time has come for a parting of the ways.

The indication from Brown, and more to the point the club, however, is that today's game at the KC Stadium is not quite make or break. Although Brown lost a key ally when the previous chairman, Paul Duffen, fell on his sword two weeks ago, his replacement, Adam Pearson, and the club's owner, Russell Bartlett, were impressed by City's spirited second-half efforts in defeat at Burnley last week, and it would take something of a horror show for Brown to face immediate dismissal.

With that assurance, Brown dealt calmly with an understandably large media presence at City's Cottingham training ground on Friday, insisting that meetings with both Bartlett and Pearson had been productive.

"They were positive conversations with an end product, and that's what you set out to achieve," he said. "Adam, he is not affected by the fickle side of the game – meaning he sits down with his manager and plans and plots a way forward, and that's what he's done, simple as that. I now understand what he wants from me and he understands what I want from him."

That mutual understanding does not, however, extend to identifying the 15 players which Pearson believes need to be shed from City's first-team squad to reduce the club's huge annual wage bill, acknowledged to be in the order of £36m. In fact, when asked if he thought City's squad was too big, Brown responded with a flat negative, though he did admit the squad will have to be trimmed.

Whether Brown will actually make it as far as the transfer window will depend on whether City can regain a measure of the momentum they established in the early months of last season, which in turn will require the former Bolton coach to abandon the negativity which, in the opinion of many, has characterised his selections and tactics since opponents began to work City out around this time last year.

Not, of course, that Brown was about to admit as much, understandably preferring to concentrate on the signs of improvement at Turf Moor. "When adversity kicks in, and it was thrown against us in terms of refereeing decisions... you want a performance, and I thought we finished strong, bright, sharp – and showed that spirit," he said.

"If we keep on performing like that, results will follow. I'll guarantee it."

City may finally be able to give Jimmy Bullard his home debut. It could be a turning point. Before he signed Bullard for £5m almost 12 months ago, Brown had targeted James Beattie, but the then Sheffield United striker preferred Stoke. His goals and contribution since then have been crucial, while Bullard has been more or less permanently injured.

But while it would be unfair to expect the former Fulham midfielder to produce miracles over City's next three matches, all of which are at home, lose them and Brown will surely need precisely that to survive.

Hull v Stoke is live on Sky Sports 1 from 1pm today

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little