Hull City v Stoke City Preview: Can Allen continue his scoring streak against leaky Hull?

Hull City v Stoke City Preview: Can Allen continue his scoring streak against leaky Hull?

A look ahead to Saturday afternoon's clash between the Tigers and the Potters.

Chris Lincoln

Two former Manchester United colleagues are reunited on Saturday afternoon at the KCOM Stadium, as Mike Phelan and Mark Hughes pit their wits from opposite ends of the dugouts.

Hull on a downward spiral

The hosts are in desperate need of three points. After an encouraging start to the campaign, Hull have lost five of their last six league games, picking up just one point and conceding 17 goals in the process. Their most recent defeat came in a humbling defeat to Bournemouth last weekend, shipping six against the South Coast club.

In contrast, Stoke are undefeated in their last three but have struggled for form away from the Britannia Stadium. They have lost five and drawn two in their last seven Premier League visits and remain without a win since March.

Defensive problems

Hull have found problems at both ends of the pitch. Only fellow promoted clubs Middlesbrough and Burnley have formulated less attempts on goal, whilst Eldin Jakupovic and David Marshall have comfortably been tested more than any other goalkeepers in the league.

Stoke have also suffered issues defensively but seemed to have gone some way to tightening up those problems when they kept a first clean sheet in 18 league fixtures last weekend.

Marshall is hoping for a quieter afternoon (photo: Getty Images)
Marshall is hoping for a quieter afternoon (photo: Getty Images)

Stoke have a great record against Hull

Although Hull defeated Stoke earlier in the season during the EFL Cup, the Potters have a much better recent record against their opponents. Stoke have won half of the last eight league meetings, losing just one in that period. Not only have they been able to find the back of the net regularly but they have also been able to keep Hull's strikers quiet, conceding just one goal in the last five meetings.

They also have "Sparky" in their corner who will add a further psychological advantage to his team. Manager Mark Hughes has enjoyed leading teams against Hull and remains unbeaten in seven fixtures, winning three of those.

Questions to answer

Both managers face questions at full-back. Hull are without left-back Andy Robertson, posing Mike Phelan the question of playing someone out of position or promoting 17-year old Josh Tymon for his Premier League debut. On the other side of the pitch Moses Odubajo has been burdened with a set back to his recent recovery, fracturing his kneecap which will keep him out for a further six months. However, captain Michael Dawson is in line for a return to the squad after three months on the sidelines.

Hughes' dilemma comes at right-back. With Glen Johnson definitely out and Phil Bardsley facing a late fitness test, Hughes could also be left without a recognised senior right-back. One man who is unlikely to be dropped into defence to cover is central midfielder Joe Allen, currently in the midst of a scoring streak that spans three consecutive matches.