As Hull prepare to face Premier League leaders Chelsea, here is the predicted starting XI Steve Bruce will choose. With six first team players out through injury and suspension, Bruce’s options are a little limited, as we approach the business end of the season, with relegation still a real possibility.
The Hull stopper is set to start as he continues to impress. Having made his 50th Tigers appearance last week, the Scottish ‘keeper has pulled off some marvellous saves this season, as well as being a dominant presence in-between Hull’s posts. One of his finest moments in a Hull shirt came against Chelsea. On the first day of last season, McGregor saved a penalty from the legendary Frank Lampard on his debut for the club.
Son of boss Steve, Alex Bruce has become a strong figure in the City defence. Having been kept out of the first team by Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson, Bruce has forced himself into the first team with some impressive performances as of late. Known for his crunching, and often nearly reckless tackles, Bruce has formed a strong partnership with his fellow defenders in the Tigers’ backline.
The summer signing from Spurs, and brother of Hull legend Andy Dawson, Michael has become the on-pitch captain following Curtis Davies’ drop from the first team. Forming a strong partnership with Alex Bruce and Paul McShane in recent games, Dawson has been vital in some strong defending displays. Case in point being last week at Leicester, Dawson was cutting out all of Leicester’s chances with aerial clearances. However he has his work cut out today with the likes of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa to contend with.
What a difference a couple of months makes, McShane looked likely to leave the club in January after a falling out with Steve Bruce, but since then he has come into the team and has performed admirably. Being often deemed as ‘Championship standard’, the fiery Irishman has proved them wrong by putting in solid performances, especially against some of the Premier League’s finest players.
A coveted member of Hull’s squad, ‘Elmo’ as he is affectionately known, is a tireless winger who is often running up and down the flanks due to Hull’s 3-5-2 formation. He supplies top quality crosses and is a fan favourite at the KC Stadium. He’ll have his work cut out to battle with the likes of Willian and Juan Cuadrado but with the pacey Egyptian never running out of energy, it’ll be intriguing to see how he gets on against some of the best players in the league.
The former record signing from Tottenham has been somewhat overshadowed by some of his midfield partners recently, but with Mohamed Diame just returning to training and Tom Huddlestone starting a two match ban, Livermore needs to step up in order to impress Bruce. The Englishman has been rather inconsistent this season, providing both marvellous performances, as well as some poor performances, he’ll need to be on top of his game if Hull are to compete with the league leaders.
Like Paul McShane, Meyler was deemed as a Championship player by critics, however he’s also proved them wrong. Scoring the goal in the creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester City, the Irish midfielder has performed admirably in recent weeks, and with Huddlestone out, he’ll see this as his chance to step up and stake his claim for a first team place in Bruce’s squad. Competing with Cesc Fabregas and Ramires, Meyler will look forward to the task.
The Southampton loanee has had a productive season on Humberside, after mot settling in well originally, he’s become a welcome figure in City’s starting XI. Due to a lack of numbers in midfield, it’s likely Ramirez will start here, perhaps in front of the midfield but behind the two strikers providing some attacking prowess which Hull will vitally need against Chelsea. He’ll want to stake his claim for a possible permanent move to Humberside in the summer.
The revelation of Hull, Robertson has become a vital part of the Tigers’ team. Due to the absence of Robbie Brady, Robertson has free reign over the right wing, and he’s continuing to put in fantastic performances. This is his stage to show how much of a good player he is, as Chelsea and the Sky TV cameras come to the KC on Sunday. The Scottish winger will provide crosses and perhaps attempt to cut inside himself as he’s very capable of both.
The January signing has been in hot form since his move from Russia. Scoring three goals and forming a strong partnership with fellow striker Nikica Jelavic. However with Jelavic likely to miss the rest of the season through knee surgery, N’Doye will be looked upon to step up and become the main striker and the man Hull look to to keep them in the Premier League. The Senegalese striker will see this also as a chance to prove his worth.
With Nikica Jelavic out for the season, it’s down to Hernández and Sone Aluko to fight it out for the role alongside N’Doye. The record signing, £10million from Palermo, Hernández has become the forgotten man on Humberside. Having made a good start, including scoring on his debut, Hernández has failed to deliver so far this season, but with Jelavic out, this is Hernández’s time to step up and shoulder the burden of getting the goals to keep the Tigers up.