FA Cup Third Round: Tigers To Roar At The Den?5 min read
Hull’s recent resurgence has been quite remarkable.
Only a month ago, they languished inside the drop zone and looked set for another battle against relegation in 2019.
Following a run of six wins in seven, with the one exception being last month’s 2-2 draw at Millwall, they are edging their way into a pack of contenders for the top half.
Of course, promotion remains a pipe dream considering the summer turmoil with so many key players leaving, but they are now 14 points above the drop zone, meaning there is every reason for them to embrace the FA Cup.
Nigel Adkins’ side can cause plenty of problems, too.
Kami Grosicki, who has looked re-focused in recent weeks, is starting to show the level of skill and quality one might expect from somebody who has played 64 games for Poland.
Fellow wide forward, Jarrod Bowen, is bringing bags of energy to the attack as well as some well-timed runs which have seen him score seven goals in his last seven games.
Hitting the target – again 🎯
— H u l l C i t y (@HullCity) January 3, 2019
Fraizer Campbell had been leading the line selflessly, but Adkins now has alternative options with Chris Martin producing a stellar performance in the 6-0 win over Bolton, a game which saw another front-man, Nouha Dicko, bag from the bench.
In midfield, Kevin Stewart has developed massively over the last month while the controversial faith Adkins showed at the beginning of his reign in Marcus Henriksen is now being vindicated.
At the back, centre-back Jordy de Wijs had looked slightly error prone in the early weeks of the campaign but has more recently adapted to the intensity of the Championship.
The Dutchman has made some heroic blocks in recent games, next to the talented Reece Burke, with the duo guided by experienced goalkeeper in David Marshall.
Hosts Millwall enjoyed a positive festive period, as an improved second half performance at Ipswich on New Years’ Day saw them to a 3-2 victory, a third triumph in three.
Neil Harris though is not working with the biggest squad, with just 15 senior outfield players available to him.
Steve Morison made a massive difference as a half-time substitute at Portman Road, offering a focal point to the Lions’ attack; the problem is that at 35, he cannot sustain his performance levels over one match, let alone a series of them in quick succession and in that sense Harris needs to manage his minutes.
When Morison is not on the pitch though, the Lions can struggle because Tom Elliott, despite a big frame, tends to fare better working off a target man rather than being that man himself; while Aiden O’Brien is an outstanding finisher, his level of work rate does not quite match that of the absent Lee Gregory.
There are suggestions that Harris might hand key performers like aerially dominant centre-back Jake Cooper and skilful wide man Jed Wallace a much-needed break, after the duo played a combined 704 minutes of football in a 10-day period.
Hull look good value to avoid defeat in South Bermondsey.
Tip: Hull draw no bet