Hull City take on A.F.C. Wimbledon at the KCOM Stadium on Tuesday night with the hosts looking to cement their place at the top of league, and the visitors looking to bounce back after a sickening injury time home defeat to Shrewsbury Town at the weekend.
Grant McCann saw Tom Eaves come on as a substitute at the weekend against Rochdale, making his first appearance since the opening day against Gillingham when he was injured.
With a hectic schedule ahead over the next month, McCann could rotate his squad to rest players and avoid injuries - Hakeeb Adelakun, Alfie Jones and Thomas Mayer could come into the side. It is certainly a headache for the Northern Irishman however, as he won’t want to mess too much with the winning side from the weekend.
AFC Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges has reported no fresh injury concerns ahead of his team’s trip to East Yorkshire. He was pleased with his team’s display at the weekend despite the injury time loss to Shrewsbury, but over the last four games scoring goals has been a problem. They have had good results, but very rarely score more than one goal a game. Often playing with three centre backs and wing backs, Wimbledon will provide tough opposition for the Tigers and no doubt Hodges will go with an unchanged line-up for the game if there are no late injury worries.
Ones to watch
Mallik Wilks was back in form against Rochdale at weekend with a brace, taking his tally for this season to five goals in all competitions. Whilst he has played through the middle when Eaves and Josh Magennis were unavailable, he was back out on the right against ‘Dale and as part of the fluid front three with Keane Lewis-Potter and Magennis, he was back to his best after returning from injury. Lewis-Potter is also one to watch, with the young forward having an excellent start to the season so far.
Richie Smallwood is a player who the Tigers dearly missed when he was out injured, and his return to the squad gives a calm, experienced head in the midfield that City lacked against Fleetwood when they had their first defeat of the season almost two weeks ago.
As far as Wimbledon are concerned, they haven’t scored a great deal of goals but haven’t conceded many either - particularly over the last few games. Ryan Longman and Joe Pigott will be the two strikers up front who have scored over 50% of the team’s goals this season between them; the former with two and the latter with three. They are sure to give the Hull City defence some headaches as they have had impressive away wins against Swindon Town and Fleetwood Town already this season. Given that Fleetwood took the Tigers apart less than two weeks ago, this game is anything but a foregone conclusion.
What the managers have said
Grant McCann spoke ahead of the game about how important it was to have Smallwood and Magennis back in the side at the weekend.
“Richie and Josh are two of our experienced players,” he said. “I felt we missed them at Fleetwood. We missed their experience, their know how, the positions they take up on the pitch, their communication – everything an experienced player can bring.
“Josh was very good. We toyed about starting him because he had been in three different countries in 10 days. But when I spoke to him on Friday, he was adamant he was fine and his word was good enough for me.
“Richie is very important for us. He’s the captain, the heartbeat. He picks up every second ball, keeps it simple, gives it to the players who can hurt people.
“He’s done that in his career and that’s why he’s done what he’s done, the promotions he’s won. It's all down to him knowing the game and his understanding.”
When asked about the reaction from the squad since Saturday, Assistant Manager Nick Daws said in the pre-match press conference: “It’s been fantastic. We were disappointed on Saturday as we felt we did enough to win the game. We didn’t take our chances and then to concede a goal in the manner we did at the end was really disappointing.
”The boys were gutted afterwards because they felt we should have taken three points from the game, but that’s the way it is and we have to look to bounce back. The games are coming thick and fast during this period and we have Hull tomorrow night, so we are really looking forward to it.”
Hull City: Ingram, Emmanuel, Greaves, Burke, Elder; Smallwood, Docherty, Honeyman; Lewis-Potter, Magennis, Wilks.
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman, O’Neill, Thomas, Csoka; McLoughlin, Woodward, Oksanen, Chislett, Seddon; Longman, Pigott.
Kick-off time and how to watch
The kick-off for the game was moved last week to 19:00 BST instead of 19:45, with the majority of games in League One kicking off at this time. The game is available on each club’s respective iFollow service, priced at £10 for UK viewers and £7 for international fans.