Belfast Telegraph

Hull boss Mike Phelan has plans in place for January transfer window

Hull will endeavour to make acquisitions early in the January transfer window as Mike Phelan bids to swiftly reinforce the Premier League strugglers' squad.

The Tigers host Crystal Palace this weekend while sitting in the division's bottom three having won just one league game since August, when they started the campaign with back-to-back victories.

Those six points were accrued despite Phelan, then operating on a caretaker basis, having the division's thinnest squad that was only partially swelled by late acquisitions in the summer.

Long-term injuries have since stripped the Tigers down to the bare bones again and captain Curtis Davies this week stated he felt the summer's rushed recruitment process had given his manager little time to scour the market.

Phelan is eager to avoid the early-window frustration that ultimately prompted predecessor Steve Bruce to walk away from the post in the summer and stressed Hull will aim to be active as soon as the new year arrives.

"We're working very, very hard - so are a lot of other clubs out there," Phelan said.

"All the players that are being put to us, and the players we are looking at, are also being looked at by many others. It's competitive. We need to try and strike quickly if we can, strike early.

"My owner is in discussions with people. It's just a case of wait and see. We have games before that, if we can get deals done early January then that would be terrific. It may be the end of January.

"We're in the process of it, we have some targets, hopefully we can get them over the line."

Looking after his own is another situation that Phelan is currently overseeing, with the likes of Scotland internationals Andrew Robertson and Robert Snodgrass set to be free agents at the end of this term.

However, Phelan has urged the pair, and others whose deals run out soon, to ignore their contractual situations in favour of matters on the pitch.

"Some players' contracts are due for renewal and discussions are taking place with all those players," Phelan added.

"But those players are here to play football, they have other people to take care of contracts and negotiations. Those are the people that sit down with our people and when there's something to talk about or announce that it will be done.

"I want the players just to concentrate on playing football. They get paid very well."

Victory over Palace could lift Hull clear of the relegation zone for the first time in seven weeks, a fact that Phelan believes would provide a psychological boost for his squad.

"It's a big thing - to be out of the bottom three," he admitted.

"It gives you breathing space and the opportunity to progress on. We've had occasions in the past to be able to do that and we haven't taken them. We're all well aware that opportunities come along and you have to improve and take them. We haven't done that; hopefully that will change."

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