EPL Preview: Hull City Vs Tottenham Hotspurs
Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspurs, Kingston Communication Stadium, Hull, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, 20:00GMT.
The weekend's fixtures are almost complete, but two teams in desperate need of three points take centre stage at the KC Stadium, Hull for this huge six-pointer.
Earlier this season, the Tigers travelled to White Hart Lane on the back of an historic victory against Arsenal and helped put a nail in Juande Ramos' coffin with a great curling free kick from Geovanni (arguably, one of the contenders for goal of the season).
Phil Brown's Tigers are entering this match after three games without defeat and on the back of sealing the fate of one of Spurs London rival's managers. Luiz Scolari received his marching orders directly from Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich after the Tigers convincingly took a point from the Blues, and looked the most likely to take all three.
Spurs are going through a rough patch away from home; Harry Redknapp's team has not won away from home in four outings, and has only won one game in the last nine. It was against fellow relegation rivals Stoke City, were they won 3-1 at White Hart Lane.
Redknapp will be without the services of Alan Hutton and Jamie O'Hara, and the fixture could be too soon for Ledley King and Jermain Defoe. However, the Spurs team will have the services of Robbie Keane, and he could be partnered up front by Roman Pavlyuchenko for the first time, at the expense of Darren Bent.
Big Harry will be happy to see the return of Vedran Corluka, who was cup-tied mid-week against Shakhtar Donetsk. Jonathan Woodgate, Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric, Wilson Palacios, and Carlo Cudicini were all rested for the UEFA Cup defeat, but are also back in contention.
Hull City have more problems to contend with. Record signing Jimmy Bullard is now on the long term injury list after Dr. Richard Steadman, a knee specialist in the United States, discovered that he had caused fresh tissue damaged to his cruciate ligament in the incident against West Ham. Other notable absences for the Tigers are George Boateng and Craig Fagan.
Phil Brown and the rest of the Tiger nation will be pleased to see the return of Daniel Cousin, and will be hoping that Anthony Gardner can continue in the same vein as he did against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. Caleb Folan will also be available for the Tigers squad, and Brown will be happy to see the return of influential skipper Ian Ashbee after being rested for the FA Cup tie.
However, with both teams going through a period of fixture congestion both teams could be shuffled. Spurs play Shakhtar Donetsk in the return UEFA Cup match on Thursday with the Tigers replaying their FA Cup fixture against Sheffield United at the same time.
The North Londoners then play Manchester United in the Carling Cup on Sunday then take on Middlesbrough and Sunderland within the week. Hull City have important Premiership fixtures against Phil Brown's old boss Sam Alladyce's team Blackburn Rovers then travel to London to take on Fulham all within ten days.
A very important period for both clubs that could make or break their respective seasons.
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