Fagan out to end Hull hoodoo
Striker desperate for Tigers to earn first away win
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: April 2, 2010 4:15pm
Fagan: Earned Dowie praise
Hull City striker Craig Fagan is desperate for victory at Stoke on Saturday to kill talk of their away drought.
The Tigers have failed to win away all season and head to the Britannia Stadium with only four of their 27 points being earned on the road.
They led 2-1 at Portsmouth two weeks ago in the 88th minute but Pompey fought back to win 3-2 and keep Hull waiting to break their duck.
"We're looking forward to Saturday because we want to get rid of this away hoodoo that everyone keeps going on about," said Fagan.
"The lads have always been confident we can go and get points, we just haven't done so.
"It doesn't weigh on your mind, it just gets mentioned week after week now because it's gone on so long. We just need to get it over and done with then people will have to think of other things to ask questions about.
"We're in the place we are in the league because we haven't won enough away games and you can't stay in the league just on your home form. We need an away win, and it will take some pressure off our home form if we do."
Fagan sealed Hull's 2-0 home win against Fulham last weekend, which took the third-bottom Tigers level on points with West Ham.
The 27-year-old was glad to get a chance up front having been used on the wing recently by former manager Phil Brown.
New boss Iain Dowie brought Caleb Folan back into the first-team squad and the Republic of Ireland international responded with both goals at Pompey.
Jozy Altidore and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink are also in contention up front and Fagan reckons the battle for selection is a big boost for Hull's survival hopes.
"People are back involved now that maybe wouldn't have been given a chance under the old manager like Sonks (Ibrahima Sonko) and Caleb Folan, and it does freshen it up," he said.
"People are fighting for shirts and that can only be beneficial to the team. Everyone has to train hard every day to get the shirt instead of the same old people each week. Competition for places brings out the best in people."
Folan (knee) is fit again after missing the Fulham game so Dowie must decide whether to stick with Fagan and Altidore up front.
But Fagan has certainly done his hope of a regular start the power of good since Dowie has taken charge.
"I'll be delighted if Craig can chip in with seven or eight goals between now and the end of the season, that would be tremendous," said the Hull boss.
"He's brave, he can run in behind, he's decent up to feet. He scored a great header (against Fulham) but his work ethic off the ball was sensational. He's won us probably 10 or 12 recoveries through sheer tenacity.
"He's been terrific and I like him. He's got a good buzz around the place, he's got an edge to him - I think every player has to have that devil in his make-up.
"He likes playing up front - I think that's where he wants to play. He should be full of confidence, he's shown that in training, and you hope he can build on that."