Hull-Sunderland preview: Can Borini and Fletcher continue to fire in the premier league?
Date: Saturday 2nd November
Venue: The KC Stadium
After last week’s dramatic derby victory over Newcastle, Sunderland look to continue their season’s recovery away at Hull. The Tigers are themselves coasting along in the Premier League and their manager, Steve Bruce, will come up against one of his former sides on Saturday.
Only Arsenal have more players out injured currently than Hull. Alan McGregor is out until at least December so Steve Harper will continue to deputise in goal, having made his first Premier League start for the club last time out against Spurs. Only a late Roberto Soldado penalty prevented from keeping a clean sheet.
Steve Bruce will be hoping to be able to have Sone Aluko and James Chester fit, both players are edging towards full fitness. Chester hasn’t been available since the victory at Newcastle in September whilst tricky winger Aluko missed the game against Spurs.
Guys Poyet has just one injury concern right now, and that’s the experienced Wes Brown. The former Manchester United man hasn’t featured at all this season and whilst he is on his way back to first team duties it’d be a surprise if he made featured this weekend.
Poyet has the luxury of no game mid-week as his side’s clash against Southampton has been pushed back to next week whilst their opponents will face Spurs yet again, this time in the Capital One Cup.
Hull go into this game having twice played Spurs at White Hart Lane and twice having lost. At home though, they’re a different proposition. They haven’t been beaten on their turf in all competitions and Bruce will know that these are exactly the sort of games Hull need to win if they want to stay in the division.
Last week’s victory over Newcastle has lifted Sunderland off the bottom of the table and ended a run of six defeats in the league. Poyet spoke about how that victory can kick-start his team’s season and it is up to his players to prove him right.
Players to Watch:
Hull - Tom Huddlestone
Picking up Tom Huddlestone for around £5 million was widely seen as a rather astute piece of business by Bruce, the former England international is still just 26 and has a lot to offer.
He has started his Hull career well, demonstrating his technical ability with his long range passing and shooting. Unsurprisingly it is Huddlestone who has created more chances than anyone for Hull this season. He is the second highest performer on the performance charts, behind Curtis Davies.
Sunderland will have to find a way to stop Huddlestone dictating play if they want to get anything out of this game. If he is given time and space he will pull the strings in midfield.
Sunderland - Steven Fletcher
Steven Fletcher must be getting fed up with being embroiled in relegation campaigns. This is the third that the Scotsman has been involved with but the one thing you can say about Fletcher is that he always scores goals.
Injuries have dogged his career and not having him has certainly affected Sunderland. Fletcher opened the scoring against Newcastle and keeping him fit will be key to the Black Cats’ chances. Sunderland fans will be hoping that he can form a good understanding with summer signing Jozy Altidore and their partnership could go a long way to deciding Sunderland’s Premier League status.
Hull are missing a lot of players and without Sone Aluko in particular they look that little bit less threatening. Sunderland will still be on a high from the derby victory over Newcastle but Hull will be a stern test on their home patch.
The pressure is on Sunderland to prove that victory wasn’t a one-off and whilst I don’t think they’ll lose, I can’t see them winning either.