Premier League strugglers Middlesbrough are desperate for a victory over Hull City as they fight relegation back to the Championship after just a year in the top flight.
The Tigers are four points ahead and they are the favourites to win the game but the underdogs hope to cause an upset.
Middlesbrough would be depending on Alvaro Negredo to lead the attack with Gaston Ramirez and Fabio Da Silva out due to ankle and head injuries respectively. Rudy Gestede is available as Victor Valdes,AdamaTraore– who has the most Premier League dribbles this season alongside Eden Hazard of Chelsea –, and the rest. Going away is a big test for Boro since they have not defeated the home team since April 2011 where they met in the Championship.
Hull have been decent in their home games since Marco Silva took over. Silva always churns good home results; from his time at Estoril, Sporting, Olympiakos and now Hull.
On the other hand, Steve Agnew’s side have failed to get a victory after 12 games in the league. They played a draw in five and lost the rest. In fact, in the last 28 away games, their only win was against Sunderland last August.
Hull City would be without right back Omar Elabdellaoui. The player, who is on loan at City, has been sidelined with back injury. Star player Tom Huddlestone would not feature in the match as he remains suspended following his red card. They have Abel Hernandez, Michael Dawson, OumarNiasse, Alfred N’Diaye and the rest to ensure victory.
Hull City has recently experienced a change in their managerial position as Mike Phelan was sacked after guiding the English club to 13 defeats, 5 draws and 6 victories.
Phelan was replaced by the 39 year old Portuguese manager Marco Silva and Tom Huddlestone has recently stated that even though Hull City is currently located in the bottom relegation zones of the Premier League, the team are starting to believe that with the guidance of the recently appointed manager Marco Silva, Hull City will be able to start climbing spots and be able to survive in the Premier League for at least 1 more season.
‘’He’s been on the training pitch with us every day, putting in a lot of tactical information into us. Wherever the ball is on the pitch, or wherever system we play, we know as players exactly what is required of us without and without the ball’’
“With the amount of information he’s put into us, there’s no excuses. If you don’t do well, it’s down to lapses in concentration because we know exactly where he wants us to be. The lads have bought into that and it’s showing in the performances’’
‘’We’ve always had the confidence. Even when results weren’t going for us, the performances have been decent. But the main thing is the results and hopefully now we’re combining the two.” Tom Huddlestone said as the 30 year old English midfielder stated that Marcos Silva has made a huge impact even though the Portuguese manager only arrived to the club around 1 month ago.
Whether or not Hull City do indeed start to win games on a consistent basis and rise above the relegation zone is something that only time will tell but the upcoming Premier League matches of Marcos Silva and his men are going to be very difficult as they have to face off with: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley.
Those all are of the opponents of Hull City for the month of February and it will be a huge challenge for Marco Silva and his squad.
After finishing in one of the top spots of the English League Championship during the previous season of 2014-15, Hull City have earned their ticket to compete in the Premier League and so far things have been going very difficult for them as the English club which is currently being managed by Mike Phelan is currently positioned in the bottom relegation zone and some changes might need to happen in order for them to start turning things around.
Tom Huddlestone has been performing with Hull City since 2013 and the English midfielder has consistently been a regular starter ever since he joined a few years ago. The 29 year old player not too long ago stated that Hull City was not going to need to make a big amount of changes in the squad as Huddlestone was confident that they were still going to be able to compete against the other teams in the Premier League.
“I think we have the basis of a good squad and a good team. Everybody pulled together towards the end of last season, everyone gets along and there’s a great atmosphere in the changing room so hopefully we can continue where we left off last season. Any new signings would be welcomed into the group with open arms. Hopeful we can start where we left off, but it’s a difficult start to the season’’ This was a statement released by Tom Huddlestone a few months ago before the current season of the Premier League had kicked off as he voiced his confidence in the squad of Mike Phelan.
Unfortunately for Tom Huddlestone, his prediction has not gone as initially expected as Hull City are clearly struggling and with the winter transfer window approaching, it might be time to start taking a look in the market and see if any potential players could be signed.
Tom Huddlestone has been criticized by some pundits for lack of fitness on the pitch.
This was evident in the match against Liverpool where the midfielder seems lost amidst Liverpool athletic players. The player who currently plays for Hull City admitted that he is short on fitness and that he needs some more training session to get back to his best level.
Phil Babb who currently works as a pundit was the one who pointed out the problem with Tom Huddlestone. The former Liverpool player said that Tom Huddlestone was not fit enough to get on the pitch in the match between Hull City and Liverpool. Babb said that this lack of fitness was evident in the player’s physique and that he needs some more intensive training to get back in shape
Phil Babb said that Tom Huddlestone is a talented player and that he undoubtedly have some good skills but his physical condition is hindering him. The former Liverpool defender said that the Hull City man should spend more time working on his fitness and make sure he is back to his best level before playing on the pitch.
Babb said that Tom Huddlestone was the weak link in the Hull City side that faced Liverpool as he lost the ball time and again due to poor physical condition.
Huddlestone agreed that he is currently in poor form and that he needs to work harder to regain his fitness. He said that he is only back from injury and that he will need some time in order to come back to his best form. He has accepted the criticism and said that he would use these words to motivate himself and to come back stronger. He has vowed to fight for his place in the team.
Hull City have been one of the major surprises and the start of the Premier league 2016-17 season.
The team was expected to struggle from the opening weekend, as they did not have a permanent manager nor a fully fit squad. Caretaker manager Mike Phelan was dealing with only 13 fit players while the club had signed no new names in the summer. Former manager Steve Bruce left the club just before the start of the season after his fall out with the owners. The club has been crumbling due to the owners being unhappy with the fans’ constant complaints.
Despite those issues, the club started out in the campaign with an unlikely 2-0 win over reigning champions Leicester City. This was followed by yet another remarkable victory over Swansea City last weekend. As a result, they have already taken six points out of their objective of 40 for the campaign. The target of 40 was going to be extremely tough to achieve at the start, but the players will now feel a major burden off the shoulders. Midfielder Tom Huddlestone has been in fine form and was influential in the game against Swansea. He has backed caretaker boss Phelan for the role as the permanent manager.
Phelan was the assistant manager at Manchester United for more than a decade.”I think he’s done well. He’s got a few new ideas which the lads have adapted to. If he is to get the job it’s just a shame he wasn’t given it straight away.The players and staff just want clarity whichever way the chairman goes. You just want things decided as soon as possible. You even see teams in the Championship spending dozens of millions every few weeks on players and we’re yet to bring one in,” said the midfielder.
Tom Huddlestone reckons Hull City’s signings must have the striking ability because that’s a department the team was not the strongest the previous season and had to look up to Abel Hernandez all the time whenever a goal was required.
As per Huddlestone, the signings, not essentially, have got to be the forwards. They can be playmakers or wide men, it doesn’t matter, but, they must be the players with the nag of finding the net so that all the pressure doesn’t happen to be on Hernandez again.
Huddlestone said, “We had almost 30% of our goals coming from Abel only. Ideally, we would want others chipping in with the goals too. So, maybe, we can look around for genuine scorers who can score every now and then even if they play in the centre or wide. To have a couple of them will be good.”
“No other department, I believe, desperately needs additions. It’s only the scoring department to be honest. We are not selling too many players and will have the same crux which always helps. Obviously, we would all like to pull our socks up for the highest level and it would be nice to begin just in the manner we finished the previous season.”
In 2015-16, Hernandez was ahead of the other attackers of Hull City by some distance in terms of scoring. No player even scored half as many goals as him. In fact, only two players managed to take their scoring tally into double figures. One was Hernandez and the other was the playmaker Mohamed Diame.
The forwards like Sone Aluke and Adama Diamonde who played more than 20 games apiece had striking rates of one goal per 8 games almost and it was so, so poor.
Tom Huddlestone could be leaving Hull City this summer if they do not win promotion.
According to The Sun, Hull City are set to lose not just Huddlestone but at least three players for free this summer, if they fail to win promotion through the play-offs.
The three players are; Tom Huddlestone, Ahmed Elmohamady and Sone Aluko. They are all out of contract in the summer and will leave the club if they aren’t promoted back into the Premier League this season. Aluko Elmohamady could be set to leave the club anyway, with Rangers interested already in his services, but it is understood that Hull will fight to keep hold of Huddlestone and Elmohamady.
Huddlestone was signed for Hull back in 2013, just after the club had been promoted back into the Premier League. In his first season with the club, Huddlestone helped Hull stay up and get to an FA Cup final against Arsenal.
Relegated side Aston Villa and Derby County are both interested in signing the central midfielder this summer.
Elmohamady has been with Hull for four years, signing for the Championship side on loan initially. The winger has been in and out of the Hull team this season, but put in a brilliant performance in Hull’s last game, a 5-1 win over Rotherham United. Premier League sides Crystal Palace and Everton have both shown interest in signing the winger at the end of the season. The player has struggled to score goals for the club however.
Both these players want to be playing Premier League football again next season, with the Hull Daily Mail stating that Elmohamady is “too good for the Championship.”
Therefore if Hull do miss out on promotion this season, they will have to try again without Huddlestone and Elmohamady next season.
This current season of the MLS is almost over and clubs are attempting to finish their campaign on a high note by securing as many points as possible with the objective of snatching a top spot in the American League.
Hull City is battling in the play-offs of the Championship as Steve Bruce searching for a promotion spot that can allow his team to compete in the Premier League in the next season. As the head coach of Hull City, Bruce has utilized a variety of different players and formations in the latest Championship League games of his team but someone that has managed to truly standout has been Tom Huddlestone.
Huddlestone has been going through an up rise in the late stages of the season. One of the biggest doubts that surrounded Steve Bruce was in relation to his midfield department as to who player he was going to partner up with Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone has recently proved his worth with man of the match performances.
For the longest of times, Steve Bruce has opted to pair up Jake Livermore with David Meyler in the midfield of Hull City but Tom Huddlestone is making the manager think twice about his decisions.
The future of Tom Huddlestone appears to be unclear as the 29 year old midfielder is one of the highest paid players of Hull City and its unlikely that the club will be able to continue paying his salary if they remain in the English League Championship for another season, however if Hull City does manage to clinch a promotion spot to the Premier League then they will be earning more money just for being promoted as well as more match-day earning in the upcoming season, so it seems like Huddlestone’s future might be dependent on whether or not Hull City get promoted to the top tier English League or if the English midfielder is willing to have a slash in his wages and stay with his current club.
Tom Huddlestone remains defiant that Hull City will be able to qualify for the Premier League despite their inability to recover the winning form.
After being in a sparkling run during the first half of the campaign, the club has failed to receive in the latter. The likes of Burnley, Brighton, and Middlesbrough are now seen as the favourites for the automatic promotion spots, while Hull may have to settle for a place in the play-offs. This is unlikely to guarantee the club that they would return to the Premier League, but Huddlestone remains confident that the second spot remains up for grabs even now.
Hull City secured a fine win over Ipswich Town a few weeks ago. Since then, they have been on a rotten run of form and have taken only three points from a maximum possible 15. A major problem for the team has been scoring goals and this is only likely to increase with the added pressure in the business end of the campaign. Prior to the win against Ipswich, the club suffered only one defeat in the league in 2016. Since that victory, though, they have already lost numerous matches and have also gone out of the FA Cup after a replay with Arsenal.
“We have a massive nine games left.If we can get on a decent run, getting six or seven wins on the spin, then we won’t be too far off. It is still all to play for in this league.I firmly believe we can get those wins. If we can put a run on for those six or seven games to take it down to the last two then we will be in with a good chance.The opportunity has not gone. It is still all to play for. There are 27 points still up for grabs,” said Huddlestone.
Aaron Lennon made his name at Tottenham, but he is currently with Everton hoping to get some regular first-team football.
Lennon was marginalised at Spurs win the club appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager. He has been enjoying much better respect at Goodison Park. Just like many other players before him, he came back to haunt his former club after scoring in the 1-1 draw against Spurs at home. After the game, the former England international rejected any talk about punishing his old club since he just did the job for Everton.
Unlike many other players, Lennon chose to celebrate mildly after having scored a brilliant goal. Romelu Lukaku provided the soft touch required for the 28-year-old to finish brilliantly from a volley. Lennon, though, was a little disappointed by the fact that Everton were unable to get all three points from the game. His goal was cancelled out by Alli just after half-time. Roberto Martinez will be pleased by the fact that they were able to halt the Tottenham juggernaut, which has been on a three match winning run. Their impressive Premier League form has seen them rise up to fifth in the table.
As for Everton, their inconsistent form continues to be a major problem for Martinez.“I was just happy to score my first goal at Goodison.I’ve been wanting to get one for a while.I thought I did well against Tottenham.When I get a chance, I have just got to do as best as I can.Geri [Deulofeu] has been playing brilliantly and sometimes you have just got to be patient in football. We are a team and we support each other. We have so many games coming up and we have such a good squad,” said Lennon. The 28-year-old has featured in only 10 matches this season.