The inside track on Hull...
14 December 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Philip Buckingham follows Hull City up and down the country for the Hull Daily Mail - who better to run the rule over a team that includes four former Spurs players?
Football Writer, Hull Daily Mail
It looks on paper that Hull have had quite a few close games of late - how is the team playing at the moment?
Philip: "It’s all been a bit hit and miss over the last couple of months. There was an excellent comeback to win against Southampton, a dogged performance to beat Newcastle to reach the EFL Cup semi-finals and then arguably the best team display since the opening weeks when drawing 3-3 with Crystal Palace on Saturday. Punctuating these games, however, have been some dismal results. The defeats at Middlesbrough and Sunderland were particularly deflating and it is now five straight losses away from home in the Premier League. Consistency is a major problem and has undermined a bid to escape the relegation zone."
Below: Robert Snodgrass
Who have been the stand-out performers so far this season?
Philip: "Robert Snodgrass has been at the heart of almost everything good in Hull City’s attack this season. If he’s not scoring goals, he’s setting them up and he played a part in all three against Crystal Palace at the weekend. In a side short of quality and depth in the final third, Snodgrass has undeniably become the club’s greatest asset. Ex-Tottenham men Michael Dawson and Jake Livermore have both been influential figures and special mention also goes to Sam Clucas, who was playing non-league football four years ago. He’s been a model of consistency in central midfield."
Below: Sam Clucas
There is obviously a large ex-Spurs contingent at Hull, have they said anything about coming back to the Lane this week?
Philip: "Tom Huddlestone made it clear he expects a tough game after he returned to the starting XI at the weekend, suggesting Hull City will spend a lot of time without the ball at White Hart Lane. Huddlestone’s recall came at the expense of Ryan Mason and Mike Phelan admitted it was a big call to leave out his record signing. Mason may have to settle for a place on the bench again."
Below: Mike Phelan
How do you expect Hull to line-up tactically, and is anyone definitely out?
Philip: "There’s a good few definitely missing. Moses Odubajo, Will Keane, Allan McGregor and Alex Bruce are all long-term absentees, while last season’s top scorer Abel Hernandez had a hernia operation last weekend. Dieumerci Mbokani is also out, completing a three-match suspension for violent conduct. It leaves Phelan short on options but he returned to a 3-5-2 formation for the weekend draw with Palace and that feels like the way he’ll go again at Tottenham. Getting a second forward, Robert Snodgrass, up in support of Adama Diomande added much more of a threat, while wing-backs Andy Robertson and Ahmed Elmohamady also enjoyed greater freedom to advance."
Below: Michael Dawson
Finally, how do you expect the game to go on Wednesday night?
Philip: "For all the confidence gleaned from the 3-3 draw with Palace, it is hard to make a case for an away win. City have lost their last five on the road and Tottenham’s home record is one of the best in the division. Everything points towards a Spurs win, sadly."