Barnsley vs Hull City – Saturday 27 April – kick off 15:00
Tom Bestwick previews Hull City's visit to Oakwell tomorrow here on barnsleyfc.co.uk.
Form over last five league fixtures – L, W, W, L, D
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Founded in 1904, Hull City AFC are on the verge of securing their place back in the top flight since they were relegated in 2010 after a brief stay in the Premier League.
Who can ever forget former manager Phil Brown sitting his players down in the corner of the pitch for a half-time team talk during their Premier League encounter with Manchester City in which they were 4-0 down? Although Hull clung on to their top-flight status by the skin of their teeth in their first season, Brown lost his job and the Tigers were sent tumbling back into the Championship in 2010.
Nigel Pearson, who is now back at Leicester City, was charged with leading the club to promotion and back to the Premier League, but Pearson finished way off the mark with an eleventh-placed finish. His old club Leicester came calling in the middle of November after Sven-Goran Eriksson had been sacked for a poor start to the season and Pearson departed the KC Stadium. With the managerial position vacant, local boy and former player Nick Barmby took over the reins on a caretaker basis and led his club to eighth place and just fell short of a top-six finish in the final few weeks of the season.
Six months later and Barmby was controversially sacked after comments he made in the media about the club’s finances. Legal proceedings began as Barmby fought his hometown club for unfair dismissal, but his appeal came to nothing and soon enough there was a new manager in the hot seat. After being sacked by Sunderland in 2011, Steve Bruce looked like his career with the elite was over, he was portrayed as a has been after several knock backs from other jobs and if Bruce and his Hull City side are to get promoted, it would prove to be one almighty redemption for the pair.
Egyptian striker Gedo will not feature in Hull’s trip to South Yorkshire after he aggravated a foot injury in the recent draw against Bristol City. Influential midfielder Robert Koren is unlikely to feature after missing training on Thursday and Paul McShane is set to start at the heart of defence if Jack Hobbs fails to recover from a knee injury. Bruce could also call upon Corry Evans after the former Manchester United midfielder served his two-match ban.
Their season so far...
The Tigers come into this fixture at Oakwell knowing that they could already be promoted back to the Premier League if Watford fail to gain a point at Leicester on Friday night. It will be a great achievement for Steve Bruce who only took over the KC Stadium at the start of this season.
A huge factor in the club’s success this season is their away record. Alongside Watford, Hull hold the best record on the road in the Championship having won 11 games on their travels. Their home form is equally as impressive with 13 wins and three stalemates from their 22 games on home soil.
The other factor to success in the Championship is consistency, and Hull have had a great ability of bouncing back from defeats all season. Only once have they gone more one game defeated before winning or drawing their next fixture, and that came back in September when they lost three games in a row to Leicester City, Peterborough United and Blackpool.
Who is their star man?
With Slovenian international midfielder Robert Koren out injured, Hull are also without Egyptian international Mahamed Gedo, striker Sone Aluko, so it’s a perfect time for Matty Fryatt to step up to the plate. The 27-year-old has featured in the Tigers’ last three outings since returning from injury, and although he is yet to hit the target this season – there’s no doubting his eye for goal.
Hull lifted themselves back into the automatic promotion spot after they recorded their biggest home win of the season against Birmingham City at the KC Stadium. Home debutant George Boyd got the 5-2 rout started in the first minute. Mahamed Gedo added a second 10 minutes later before Boyd registered his second and Robert Koren got in on the act to make it 4-0. Gedo got his second to give the hosts a 5-0 lead before Peter Lovenkrands and Chris Burke scored late consolation goals.
Ironically, the Tigers’ biggest defeat of the season came a week before their humbling of Birmingham when they travelled to Bolton Wanderers. Steve Bruce’s side found themselves 3-0 down inside the first eight minutes of the game courtesy of goals from Darren Pratley, Mark Davies and Craig Dawson. Robbie Brady pulled one back, but Dawson registered his second to make it 4-1 to the Trotters, a result that consequently cost Hull their place in the top two and also meant they lost ground on leaders Cardiff City.
Blast from the past:
Before Barnsley’s victory at the KC Stadium in the FA Cup this season, the Tykes have not come away from Hull with three points since August 2006. Under the guidance of Andrew Ritchie, Barnsley came from two goals down to record a 3-2. Jon Parkin had given the hosts a two-goal lead, but shortly before the interval Michael McIndoe halved the deficit, and the goal proved to be to the start of a second-half fight back. Marc Richards scored within four minutes of the restart and Paul Hayes completed the turn around with a right-footed effort in the 73rd minute.