Premier League Preview: Hull City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Premier League Preview: Hull City Vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, Kingston Communication stadium, Kingston Upon Hull, England, January 30, 2010, 15:00GMT.
The clash at the KC Stadium will be a welcome fixture for the beleaguered Tigers fans, as due to the recent snow storms the club has not had a home fixture since 2009.
With that in mind, the Wolverhampton Wanderers travel north to take on Hull City in a relegation crunch match. The Tigers are only one point behind Mick McCarthy's Wolves, with both clubs having an awful goal difference. Phil Brown's Tigers have the leagues worst GD with -26, but McCarthy's Wolves are not much better with -21.
In the run up to this crucial tie, Wolves have stepped up their bid to sign Hull City's left winger, Stephen Hunt. Irish international Hunt has been the focus of three ever increasing bids from Wolves, but the Tigers' chairman, Adam Pearson has said repeatedly that the club would not be parting with the influential player, unless silly money was offered. Rumor has it that the Wolves have tabled a bid in the region of £4m for the Tigers top scorer.
It is thought by many that the Wolves recent increased bid for Hunt is an attempt to destabilize the Tigers' and Hunt's preparations for the match, but Paul McShane, Hunt's Republic of Ireland teammate, disagreed when he was quoted by saying:
"Stephen has been involved in transfer sagas before and he knows how to deal with it."
"He's just happy to let it all happen, but nothing will bog him down or get in the way of his football."
"He is the type who gives 100 percent on the training ground and 100 percent on the pitch and from that he gets his rewards."
The East Yorkshire side will be without the services of Seyi Olofinjana, who will still be tied up with the Nigerian national team as they take part in the Africa Cup of Nations third and fourth place final.
Long-term injured, Ian Ashbee and Jimmy Bullard will still be consigned to the KC stands for the game, but the mercurial Brazilian, Geovanni is expected to take a late fitness test on a recent knee injury. Geovanni may be joined by Kamel Ghilas (thigh), Dean Marney (calf), Amr Zaki (hamstring) and Kamil Zayatte (ankle).
McCarthy's Wolves are missing David Edwards, Andy Keogh & Michael Kightly to ankle injuries and Goalkeeper Matt Murray has a knee problem. The Midlanders also have doubts over George Elokobi, who has been suffering from an illness and Geoffrey Mujangi Bia from a hamstring strain.
For both clubs it is an important six-pointer, but their managers would deny that this game is more important than any other. However, for the Tigers who haven't won in nine games and are sitting in 19th place, a win would see them possibly climb free of the relegation zone for the first time since the loss to Arsenal before Christmas.
For the Wolves, the draw against Liverpool last week was a triumph for the organisation over a lackluster Liverpool side, but the match against fellow-struggling Hull City will be a very different test. The Wolves will have to show more ambition than they did against Liverpool if they want to get three invaluable points from the game.
However, after the game ends, both clubs will see this fixture as a possible three point success and will be a true indicator of whether they will be able to survive for another season in the Premiership for the 2010/11 season.
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