Premier League Preview: Hull City Vs Manchester City

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IFebruary 5, 2010

Premier League Preview: Hull City Vs Manchester City, Kingston Communication Stadium, Kingston Upon Hull, England, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, 15:00GMT.

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City side travels up the M62 to the KC Stadium to take on Phil Brown's Hull City side.

In the last meeting between the two sides the East Yorkshire club earned a well deserved 1-1 draw, which helped to end the reign of Mark Hughes at Eastlands.

The Blues appointed the Italian on Dec. 20, but it was speculated that it was the draw against Hull City on Nov. 28 that was the catalyst to Hughes' demise. The Manchester City chairman, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, then entered negotiations to bring in the Italian.

Under Hughes, the Citizens had won only two games in his last 11, but since Mancini took over the Eastlands outfit have won four games out of five in the league but still sit in sixth place, the same place Manchester City were under Hughes.

Mancini will have to work on his teams' confidence after a disheartening loss in the League Cup semi-final to local rivals Manchester United.

They lost over two legs after holding a first leg lead.

The Italian will also have to get his influential left back Wayne Bridge into the right frame of mind after all his off-field distractions over the John Terry affair.

For Brown's Tigers, the fixture can't come quick enough. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the Yorkshiremen took their "A" game to the reigning league leaders Chelsea at the KC Stadium, and were extremely unfortunate to only come away with a draw.

In a scintillating game, Hull City's young French centre back Steven Mouyokolo scored his first goal for the club with a beautifully taken header from a Stephen Hunt corner to give the Tigers the lead. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Chelsea's Didier Drogba scored from a free kick after the Hull City wall did a poor job in blocking his strike.

For Manchester City, Adam Johnson and Patrick Vieira could make thier first team debuts after signing for the Mancini. Wayne Bridge could force his way back into the Manchester City first team after returning from a knee injury, and Joleon Lescott could make the bench if he passes a late fitness test.

However, Micah Richards, who is suffering from a calf injury, and Vincent Kompany, who has a groin injury, are set to miss the game.

The Tigers still don't have the services of long-term injured skipper Ian Ashbee and record signing Jimmy Bullard. Ex-Manchester play-maker, the mercurial Brazilian Geovanni, will also miss out with minor medial ligament problem.

Dean Marney and Kamil Ghilas are still not fit, while Paul McShane is a doubt because of an eye injury sustained at the end of the game against Chelsea, when Drogba swung an arm at the Irishman.

Seyi Olofinjana, who recently returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, could make the Hull City bench, but in his absence young wonder-kid Tom Cairney took his chance, and Brown would find if very difficult to replace the teenager, who more than matched the likes of Frank Lampard and Deco against Chelsea.

With the Tigers still in the drop zone another solid result is a must, but playing against one of the Premier League's most potent attacks will be a very tall order. If Brown's players can show the commitment they have recently demonstrated they will give the millionaires of Manchester a run for their money.

For Mancini, a return to his club's usual fluid style of play (after the stuttering display against struggling Portsmouth) will be the order of the day, but with the Tiger's KC Stadium increasingly becoming a fortress, the Citizens will have to work very hard to keep on track for an elusive Champions League place.