With 17 goals to their name, Hull City have the dubious honour of being the Premier League's joint worst team in front of goal this season. The Tigers are currently the bookies favourites to go down and if they are to change that, they must avoid the dithering that plagued their summer – where they failed to make their first signing until two days before the transfer window closed.
Marco Silva has taken perhaps the least desirable Premier League gig going, but according to the club's vice-chairman Ehab Allam, work is already underway to "deliver some key additions" to the meagre Hull squad. They can't afford to waste any time.
What they need
A stat that illustrates Hull's woes; Centre-half Michael Dawson currently sits second in their goal scoring charts with three league goals to his name, behind midfielder Robert Snodgrass. Behind him is Adama Diomande with two. No other Hull City forward has scored more than once this season. Long-term injuries to Abel Hernandez and Will Keane have not helped, but their lack of a reliable goal scorer will only hasten their return to the Championship. Phelan had also keen to bring in another right-back with Ahmed Elmohamady unavailable until possibly February, depending on how far Egypt progress in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Who could join
35-year-old Samuel Eto'o emerged as Hull's preferred solution to their goal scoring woes before Phelan got the chop. He appeared to be unaware of any offer for the former Barcelona, Inter, Chelsea and Everton striker but admitted it would be an "unbelievable challenge" for the former Cameroon international to return to these shores and help dig Hull out of trouble.
Hull have already made an offer to Arsenal to take Carl Jenkinson on loan for the second half of the season. But with Mathieu Debuchy seemingly doing his very best to burn his remaining bridges with Arsene Wenger, the Gunners may decide to hold onto Jenkinson to provide cover for Hector Bellerin at right-back. De Telegraaf report 22-year-old FC Groningen defender Hans Hateboer could be an alternative option.
Who could leave
Undoubtedly Hull's best hope of surviving the drop, Robert Snodgrass has already rejected the chance to extend his contract, although Hull have triggered a 12-month extension that ties the winger to the club until 2018. Holding onto him in January will remain a priority for the club, with Middlesbrough, West Ham United and Sunderland among the clubs monitoring the Scotland international, according to the Guardian.
What the manager has said
"I think the players, to their credit, need some new blood," Phelan was quoted as saying by the Hull Daily Mail. "They need that feeling that they're going in the right direction. Hopefully we can deliver that. We've looked at a lot of things but there's been no movement yet. As it stands, there's nothing on the table to do.
"I'll be having those conversations again and we have to look at it because we're now into the month. Hopefully we're not waiting until the 28th or 29th to do our business because we need freshening up now."