We have to trust Iain Dowie that he knows the best way to keep Hull City afloat in the Premier League. He has been appointed as a troubleshooter and has an almighty bonus coming his way if he succeeds. And if he does, he'll be worth every penny.
But it surely is the case that he is still learning about his players, and unfortunately he isn't really blessed with time to learn. This is why it is imperative that he allows Steve Parkin, the one remaining senior figure of Phil Brown's era, to offer advice and instruction as much as possible.
It seems that Parkin was offered a payout by the club upon Dowie's appointment and the first team coach declined, preferring instead to continue working with the players. This may have been for Parkin's own professional standards that he didn't just take the cheque, but we can be very grateful to him. It would have been madness for Dowie and his two new assistants to sever all ties with the regime they were replacing and just rely on their own instincts and the club dossiers to assess the squad inherited.
This is ever more the case with some of Dowie's selections. He's the manager, the tactician, the qualified coach and the communicator. He knows best. But while some fans are moronic, many more are not. We know that Jozy Altidore is a better footballer and more workable prospect than Caleb Folan. We've seen enough recent evidence of Altidore and plenty of past evidence of Folan to confirm that. And Dowie himself saw just how effective Altidore was, to the point of excluding almost all others, as City swatted aside Fulham last week.
So why drop Altidore? It was a baffling decision on a par with any of the bewildering eccentricities of Brown's latter selections. To be kind to Dowie, the last time he saw Folan - and the last time the rest of us saw Folan - the languid and half-interested centre forward was scoring two goals at Portsmouth. Even though we lost the game, there was obviously ample argument for keeping a player of severely restricted ability in the side, even though absolutely nobody believed he would reproduce the two-goal salvo, and would struggle to manage even a one-goal salvo.
But Folan, unluckily for him but an undisguised blessing for the rest of us, was ill. So Altidore played. And put in the sort of shift that Folan wouldn't manage on any sort of consistent basis at this level even if he were to drink from the cup of eternal life. He is not a good enough player nor a selfless enough player to do what Altidore did. He doesn't frighten defenders, only his own team-mates and the supporters of the side for whom he plays.
So there was reason, albeit one evoking empathy rather than sympathy, for Dowie to look again at Folan. But Altidore must have been raging, and as a player reliant on confidence and one who looks just outstanding when he has it, it is a worry as to how he will react once he does regain his side. Fortunately, his instant changing of the game upon replacing the rotten Folan just after the hour at Stoke City suggests his mental state has strengthened as he has become more suited to the physical needs of the Premier League. Forget his lack of goals, the boy is a fine footballer and we need him playing.
As for Dowie's decision to put Paul McShane at centre back, well that was a case of devil and deep blue sea. Kevin Kilbane could have played there, and would have done a better job (not just than McShane, but also that of his woeful efforts on the left of defence) but Dowie preferred to use Bernard Mendy's natural attacking instincts at full back rather than use Andy Dawson's more staid qualities on the other side. So of the two full backs, it was McShane asked to step inside. Wisdom after the event is fine, and you do have to feel for Dowie having to choose from two such unappealing candidates.
Parkin has been seen putting the squad through its warm-up at Dowie's three matches in charge. One hopes that there is more to his role under Dowie than this, and his experience of the players will also be eagerly scooped up by Dowie. It's hard to imagine Parkin telling Dowie that McShane would be the best choice for centre back, and certainly not that Folan was worthier for the starting XI than Altidore. Hopefully now, however, Dowie has worked this out for himself.