Can Hull City enjoy another successful season? Here's the lowdown on what's new at the KC Stadium.
Little fancied going into last season after winning promotion as the Championship’s joint-14th highest scorers, Steve Bruce showed himself to be a savvy customer as Hull City hit the Premier League running. Frequently tinkering with his formation to present a new challenge to opponents, Hull proved a surprise success. With European football secured for the first time thanks to an FA Cup final appearance in May, the Tigers will be looking for renewed impetus this season.
Jake Livermore has joined the club on a permanent basis which will please fans after his loan efforts last year and there is a continued domestic emphasis in the club’s recruitment. Robert Snodgrass arrives as a proven Premier League performer and Tom Ince could well excite if Bruce can get the best from him. Meanwhile, Harry Maguire and Andrew Robertson – from Sheffield United and Dundee United, respectively – are talented players who could impress given the chance.
Curtis Davies could count himself a little unfortunate not to have been included in England’s World Cup squad after enjoying a brilliant season last time out. The central defender ranked among the top three in the Premier League for both interceptions and clearances as well as the top ten for blocks. A consistent figure at the heart of the back line, Davies will need to come close to repeating those achievements if Hull are to succeed in 2014/15.
The fast start was key to Hull’s survival last year but the fact that they lost 14 of 21 games after Christmas won’t be lost on supporters and those unwelcome calendar year stats will come out if they don’t start well. That’s made trickier by the distractions of a Europa League campaign that could frustrate the manager every bit as much as it will inspire the fans. It might be a difficult season for the Tigers – and that’s without mentioning the manoeuvrings of owner Assem Allam.
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- In 2013/14, the Tigers achieved their highest points tally in a single Premier League season (37).
- Tom Huddlestone created 59 chances for Hull City last term, 17 more than any other player.
- Hull lost all eight home Premier League matches in which they went behind in last term.
Hull had a really good season last year, with Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long combining up front and reaching the FA Cup final after securing their Premier League status. They’ve made some good signings this summer, too, with Tom Ince, Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore coming in. The problem for Steve Bruce and his squad could be the Europa League. It’s the last thing they need. We saw with Swansea last year how much of a hindrance that competition can be to your Premier League form and Bruce will have to manage his squad carefully. But, with the money they’ve spent, they should be pushing for the top half and staying well away from the relegation mix. Like all these other clubs they’ll be desperate to get off to a good start, though.
Possible Hull XI