It's an early six-pointer
IT S ONLY November, but you get the feeling that Saturday s match may have a huge bearing on the two team s respective season s in the Premier League. Hull City and West Ham sit just one place and one point apart with the Tigers outside the relegation zon
IT'S ONLY November, but you get the feeling that Saturday's match may have a huge bearing on the two team's respective season's in the Premier League.
Hull City and West Ham sit just one place and one point apart with the Tigers outside the relegation zone by the skin of their teeth.
Phil Brown's position as manager looks as precarious as Gordon Brown's chances of winning the next election, but his continued tenure at the KC Stadium may be a blessing for the Hammers, who would not want to face a Hull side trying to impress a new boss.
Goals have been the big problem for the Tigers this season. They have scored just 10, a tally matched only by Portsmouth, while they have let in 25, which is as many as anyone else in the top flight.
Brazilian Geovanni leads the goalscoring tally, but with a paltry three in league and cup, while Stephen Hunt and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink have two apiece.
Hull brought Hunt and the long-named one in during the summer and the pair may prove to be the biggest dangers to the Hammers.
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Hunt is a tricky winger as well as a pain in the posterior and he will undoubtedly cause problems for the unpredictable, Inspector Clouseau-like Frenchman Julien Faubert.
The Dutchman was a target for West Ham owing to his free agent status, but Hull City nipped in first to secure his services and he looks to be a useful free transfer.
City also added striker Seyi Olofinjana from Stoke City to their squad, as well as loan signings Ibrahima Sonko, again from Stoke and Villareal striker Jozy Altidore, who played alongside Guillermo Franco at the Spanish club.
It is hardly a squad that strikes fear into the hearts of West Ham fans, and the fact that they lost last season's top player - defender Michael Turner - to rivals Sunderland, means they are understandably shaky at the back.
Jimmy Bullard is back in their ranks and will add a little flair to the midfield, but West Ham will be confident of keeping him at bay.
All three Hull victories in the league have come at the KC Stadium. They beat Bolton 1-0, Wigan 2-1 and last time out Stoke City 2-1, but they have also crashed to a 5-1 home defeat against Spurs, as well as a 4-0 thumping by Everton in the Carling Cup.
Last season, on West Ham's first-ever visit to the KC Stadium, Turner's goal was enough to take all three points
This will be no easy game for the Hammers either, but with Carlton Cole back in the fray and West Ham slowly coming into form, this is a game they can, and probably should win.
POSSIBLE TEAM: Duke, Gard-ner, Dawson, Zayatte, Fagan, Garcia, Geovanni, Hunt, Bullard, Olofinjana, Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Hull City 1 West Ham 2