Jan set for Tigers start

Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 by PA

Hull could hand a first start to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink at home to Birmingham.

The former Celtic striker featured off the bench in last week's defeat at Sunderland.

City could have former England manager Steve McClaren to thank if Vennegoor of Hesselink proves a huge success at the KC Stadium.

The Dutchman joined Hull on a free transfer earlier this month after spending the summer training with McClaren's FC Twente.

Vennegoor of Hesselink began his career with the Enschede club and spoke with McClaren, who played for the Tigers in the early 1980s, before agreeing the move.

"I still had an ambition to play abroad but it was a gentleman's agreement I could train there," said the 30-year-old.

"Everyone knows me there, I am homegrown there and played in the first team for six years. It was a nice experience and it kept me fit.

"I spoke with Mr McClaren because he was also a player here and he liked it here very much. He said good things about the club."

Midfielder Dean Marney is back in contention for the first time since suffering a knee injury on the opening day of the season but defender Anthony Gardner (knee) is still sidelined and Steven Mouyokolo (hamstring) has also been ruled out.

Birmingham are without forward James McFadden (thigh) and defender Franck Queudrue (hamstring).

Midfielders Lee Carsley (back) and Damien Johnson (strain) are also struggling to be fit.

Fit-again Liam Ridgewell (broken leg) will compete with the returning Scott Dann (thigh) and Giovanny Espinoza to start alongside Roger Johnson.

Full-backs David Murphy (knee) and Stephen Carr (thigh) are also back training and may feature.

Boss Alex McLeish has vowed to follow in Phil Brown's footsteps and lead the Birmingham faithful into song should his side avoid relegation.

With top-flight survival guaranteed, Brown grabbed a microphone and sang a rendition of Tigers song 'this is the best trip I've ever been on'.

His slightly out-of-tune karaoke effort struck a chord with fans all over the country who lapped up his clearly emotional efforts as his charges upset the odds courtesy of Newcastle's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.

And as McLeish prepares to take Birmingham to Humberside for what is already being billed as a potential relegation scrap, he has promised to repeat the scenes witnessed back in May should Blues stay up.

"If you guaranteed me that right now I'd give you a song no problem," said McLeish.

"Aye, I don't think that's a problem, I'm a good singer. And I'm sure Phil is better than that performance he gave."

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