By Alex Thurston
Hull could all but secure another season in the Championship this weekend, and this tie promises to be an interesting one at St Andrew’s, whatever the outcome, as The Tigers travel to Birmingham to take part in a real relegation scrap.
With both sides struggling to get results so far this season, the Blues will be looking to get their first win under new boss Gary Monk, whilst the Tigers are aiming for a third successive win, after their away thrashing of Ipswich on Tuesday.
Nigel Adkins’ men have been on fine form in their most recent run of fixtures, managing to overturn a 3-1 deficit at home to Norwich to become the 4-3 victors, in a 7-goal thriller at the KCOM.
Star man Abel Hernandez will be available for selection this weekend, after he was left out of the squad which travelled down to Ipswich. In a recent presser, Adkins stated: “He’s fit and I didn’t want to jeopardise that with three games in a week.”
“Both Ondrej [Mazuch] and Abel are available for selection this weekend.”
On the other hand, Blues have suffered seven defeats in their last seven Championship games, so Blues fans will certainly be expecting a positive change in results, after the appointment of Gary Monk.
One of Birmingham’s main problems already this season has been their inability to score many goals, however ex-Premier League striker James Beattie has recently been appointed as the new striking coach, telling BluesTV: “For me, giving 100% as a player was a given.”
“I’ve got to know all of the lads over the last couple of weeks, they really want it.”
Gary Monk has also recently brought back veteran Birmingham defender Paul Robinson, who he hopes will help boost the morale and get the Blues out of another relegation scrap.
The Blues’ boss spoke to the Birmingham Mail, saying: “Of course fitness he is not at the level just yet to be considered for selection but he is very good around, his experience is invaluable.”
I spoke to James Hoggarth from BBC Radio Humberside, who praised Hull’s new signings: “The way Nigel Adkins has got performances out of Henriksen and Hector is commendable.”
“This week has been massive for Hull City. I suspect few fans would have expected to have seen the team gain 6 points, and in the manner it happened.”
I also spoke to Birmingham Live writer Brian Dick, who said: “”I’m concerned about Hull’s upswing in form and the fact they arrive knowing another win will effectively see them safe.”
“But as with most Championship games it’ll come down to the first goal. If Blues get it, then it could be a difficult afternoon for the Tigers.”
Whichever side comes out on top will surely gain confidence on their own Championship survival.