It may not be officially happening yet, but the EFL have made huge steps towards restarting the Championship season. They announced yesterday that provisionally, the league will resume from June 20th behind closed doors.
One team that seemed to be keen to void the season is Hull City. Social media went crazy over the past fortnight, with the owner of the club insisting that it was not safe for the season to continue, and should be voided. However, now the EFL has announced the restart, it looks increasingly likely that the Tigers must play their way into safety rather than rely on staying up by default.
There are nine games remaining for all clubs - and three fixtures stick out as being crucial to the survival effort.
Hull City vs Charlton Athletic
With only two points separating these two sides - Hull just above Charlton on 41 points, Charlton on 39 - this was the game due to be played at the KCOM before the suspension of the season. The reverse fixture back in December at Valley Parade saw late drama, with local youngster Keane Lewis-Potter heading in the equalizer in the ninty-sixth minute (even though the goal was eventually given as an own goal by goalkeeper Dillon Phillips).
Both sides will be desperate to hit the ground running once the season restarts and the news about Lyle Taylor refusing to play in any of the upcoming fixtures due to injury worry will be a massive blow to the Latics. Hull will be keen to make home advantage count and will be buoyed by many players returning from injury as well as the recently announced extension of Josh Bowler's loan deal from Everton until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
Wigan Athletic vs Hull City
Wigan are on the same number of points as City - 41 - in the current standings, with a slightly superior goal difference. The game was originally scheduled as the third to last game of the season, and no doubt much will be riding on the clash by the time the game rolls around.
Just like the aforementioned fixture with Charlton, the reverse Hull v Wigan fixture finished all square - 2-2 - with departing duo Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen scoring for the Tigers. This promises to be a classic relegation battle of a fixture that may seal either club's fate. Before the suspension of the league, Wigan were on an excellent run of form - with eleven points out of their last fifteen. The Tigers had no such form, without a win since New Year's Day.
Hull City vs Luton Town
Scheduled to be the penultimate game of the season, and Hull's last home game, the stakes will no doubt be extremely high when the Hatters visit the KCOM Stadium. A Kevin Stewart double and a Kamil Grosicki effort saw the Tigers come away with all three points back in September at Kenilworth Road. One would suspect, however, that this game will be a much closer affair.
Hull should have key defenders Jordi De Vjis and Reece Burke back, and Luton have appointed a new manager during the suspension, that in Nathan Jones who returns to the club for a second spell. The Tigers will hope that by this stage, the predictable new manager bounce will have worn off and they can see off Luton to stay in the division.
Three key fixtures for Hull City against sides around them, then - but can they stay up?