Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Hull City
A terrible run of form has seen Hull sink to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship. With one game left to play, they need to beat Play-Off chasing Cardiff City on Wednesday evening and hope other results go their way.
Seven years ago, the Bluebirds and Tigers were celebrating at the KCOM Stadium having each secured their place in the next season’s Premier League. Things couldn’t be different this July, with Grant McCann’s side staring into the abyss.
Like Blackburn and Derby before them, Hull must come to CCS on Wednesday and attack from the off. Neil Harris’ side is bristling with confidence though and know that a point will be enough to secure them a place in the Play-Off shake-up.
Since a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day, Hull City have won one game of Championship football. That’s a rather sobering statistic for all Tigers fans and one that pointedly illustrates why they find themselves in the difficulties that they are in. If the point needed further embellishment, Hull have only managed to scrape three draws during that time, resulting in a staggering 16 defeats from 20 games played.
The Tigers were challenging for the top-six during the first half of the season, yet the January deadline-day departures of 16-goal man Jarrod Bowen (to West Ham United) and Polish maestro Kamil Grosicki (to West Bromwich Albion) took the wind out of their sails. To be in with a chance of survival, Hull will need to beat the Bluebirds and hope that Luton lose to Blackburn; Wigan (due to their off-field woes and 13-point safety threshold) fail to beat Fulham and Barnsley are denied victory at Brentford.
Ones to watch
The loss of Bowen and Grosicki hit Hull hard and they’ve simply been unable to replace that undeniable quality. Tom Eaves and former Bluebird, Josh Magennis, have five and four goals to their name each, yet Hull have struggled to find many from elsewhere aside from the five scored by former Barnsley midfielder, Mallik Wilks.
George Long, Jordy De Wijs and Reece Burke were all axed for the defeat to Luton on the weekend and it remains to be seen whether they will be brought back into the action on Wednesday. Former Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman has creative spark and undoubted commitment to offer from a central midfield role.
Jackson Irvine, Stephen Kingsley, Eric Lichaj, Markus Henriksen and Nouah Dicko all left the club on June 30th once out of contract – all quality players that could no doubt have assisted in the Tigers’ fight.
In the hotseat
Grant McCann was given the backing of the Hull board over the weekend, citing a bigger picture for the club irrespective of what division they find themselves in next season.
Having been capped 39 times for the Northern Ireland national side between 2001 and 2012, McCann took his first steps into management as Peterborough United caretaker boss in 2015. He was given the roll permanently soon after, before leaving for Doncaster Rovers in 2018 and guiding them to last season’s League One Play-Off final where they lost to Charlton Athletic. He was appointed Hull City manager last June.