MATCH PREVIEW: Hull City V Blues

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Hull City vs Birmingham City
2017/18 EFL Championship
Date: Saturday, 30th September 2017
Kick Off: 15:00 UK / 16:00 CET
Venue: KCOM Stadium (Hull)

Blues' last game against Hull ended in a 1-0 victory
Blues’ last game against Hull ended in a 1-0 victory

Birmingham City now have one of the toughest tests of the new 2016/17 campaign, as we look to take on Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, and we will take on this match-up against the competitors with a new head coach- Steve Cotterill.

Blues submitted their second win of the season at St. Andrew’s on Wednesday. A tidy finish from Isaac Vassell saw the boys in royal blue make the journey home with a 1-0 victory to our name. We didn’t play the best of football to any extent, and we didn’t make near as many chances as our opposition on the evening, but we made the most of the opportunities that came our way. Cheikh Ndoye missed a chance to open the scores, missing the entire goal, but minutes later former Wednesday man- Jacques Maghoma played a neat through ball to Vassell, leaving the Sheff Wed defenders scratching their heads in disbelief, and Isaac opened his Birmingham account with a bang.

Our opponents also aren’t exactly having the most extravagant return to the Championship, as they are currently holding the 17th spot in the league, with only 1 point and goal difference the contrast between the Tigers and ourselves in the league standings. Hull City’s new manager, Leonid Slutsky, was set to secure immediate promotion back to the Premier League, after they suffered with a straight return to the Championship, however the Russian manager has failed to prove his expectations in the opening 10 encounters. And now the Home side will have to attempt to knock down a fierce Blues side, and we are now 2 games unbeaten with 1 win, and 1 draw.

Hull’s last result in the league found them suffer to a measly 2-1 defeat to Preston North End. The Tigers will without a doubt look to succeed in the game tomorrow afternoon, and get themselves to move up the table rankings. However, with a new high spirit within the team, we will fancy our chances tomorrow to make it 3 games unbeaten. Lee Carsley has maintained his name within the board of the club, but for now he will sit back and be a number 2 option for newly appointed Steve Cotterill.

Some may say that when Blues made the great escape in the crunch match against Bristol City on the final day of the previous season, that Steve was the main body in the situation of us maintaining our Championship status for another season. And after TTA sacked gaffer Harry Redknapp with just 8 games up and running, since he has left St. Andrew’s, we have found ourselves with an additional 4 points on the seasons tally, already levelling the amount of points that we had collected in all of the games that HR was in charge for…

And now Blues look forward to brighter things that may be just around the corner for us, as we now have a good selection of players to rotate the squad as much as we like. And once the likes of Che Adams and Jota have returned in amongst the mix, we may find ourselves shoot up the table in a matter of a few games. Once we have the full team fully pledged to play, then we could perhaps find ourselves having a good shot at promotion after all. All that Blues are needing right now is for the points to rack up as quickly as possible. The league is really tight at the moment, and the difference between us moving from our current standing to the top half of the table is 5 points. Will we do it with our new look board?

The Tigers key man of the moment is Jarrod Bowen, who has 6 goals to his name so far this season. But with our big man between the sticks finding himself with a clean sheet on Wednesday evening, he will be confident within himself that he could keep another in the clash at the KCOM tomorrow. Who will come out on top?

We also have proven goalscorers within our side as well though, with Gallagher, Jutkiewicz and Vassell all options for the encounter. All of the options available to us all know how to find the back of the net as well, and if we manage to line up in the correct way, then we could find ourselves with our first win on our travels this season. Let’s do this! COYBB!!

Team News:

BLUES – Blues have no new injury queries.

HULL – Stephen Kingsley will miss the game due to a groin injury he picked up against Preston.

Head-To-Head:

Blues Wins – 25
Games Drawn – 17
Sheff Wed Wins – 19
Biggest Win – Hull 7-0 Blues

League Form:

BLUES: LLLDW

HULL: LLDDL

Previous Encounter:

Blues 1-0 Hull (3rd March 2016)

Played For Both – Jon Toral:

jon-toral

Jon Toral endured a spell at the Blues in the 2015-16 season, where he made 36 appearances and scored 8 goals in the campaign. Blues made an attempt to sign him on a permanent deal from Arsenal, but since he made a move to Scotland is now fully signed for Hull City. Toral will always be a top fan favourite at the Blues no matter what, but he now has to face us at his new Home ground.

Predicted Lineup:

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Blues are set to lineup against Hull with practically the exact same structure as against Sheffield Wednesday in the midweek clash. However Blues look likely to have Gallagher in the Starting XI again to give Jutkiewicz a start on the bench.

Thoughts from Carsley:

On what he expects from Hull City:

I am expecting them to be really attacking, they commit a lot of bodies forward, and they play on the front foot. It’s important we think about our defensive shape, that we use the ball a little bit better. Their strike force, sometimes there are two up front which press quite aggressively, so I think it’s important we keep the ball off them and get them running around. I think we can do that if we show a little bit more patience with the two centre backs and the goalkeeper we can keep the ball and we can get our defensive midfielder on the ball and start our play that way.

On how the last two results has lifted the spirit of everyone at the club:

It’s been a decent enough week. Obviously we’ve not had as much contact with the players in terms of sessions. It’s been more debriefs – watching the game back and obviously the game against Sheffield Wednesday. In terms of contact time and implementing a different style and strategy we’ve not had a lot of chance. But in terms of results wise, getting a draw and a win has definitely lifted the training ground and the Club.

On the importance of keeping clean sheets:

We spoke about foundations and getting a clean sheet. Apart from the (Sheffield Wednesday) goal that was the dubious offside, we defended really well; we could still be there now and not concede. I thought we were that compact at times and the longer the game went on I thought we became more dangerous on the counter attack. It’s important the lads recognise situations in games and not panic. I thought that was a plus on Wednesday night – when we scored you could see the lads visibly thinking ‘Right, we need to be compact now, no mistakes, no panic and play on the front foot’.

Score prediction:

After seeing how well Blues have performed over the last two games even after the drama of sacking Redknapp, I think that we certainly have the capability of snatching all of the points against an also struggling Hull City side.

And with the new look board, for that reason, I am going to go for a 1-0 victory against Hull at their ground. I think that we have been defensively much stronger in the past 2 games, and we seem to be a whole lot more confident with Kuszczak in goal. But I also can’t see us scoring more than one goal, and it will be tough to even grab a goal if that against the side, but I think that we can just about snatch the game at the KCOM.

That’s my score prediction, but I want to hear yours! Comment your predicted score-line below, and feel free to tell us what you think about this Match Preview…

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