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Anything other than promotion for Hull City is a failure

15 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Anything other than promotion for Hull City is a failure

The Tigers boast one of the Championship's strongest squads, but they must prove their pedigree against an in-form Sheffield Wednesday

For Hull City, anything other than an immediate return to the Premier League should be classed as failure.

It is a brazen view, but one that is absolutely true for a club that reached the FA Cup Final just over a year ago.

But this wasn’t necessarily always the case.

Just two months ago, Tigers boss Steve Bruce was preparing himself for an exodus as the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Mohamed Diame, Ahmed Elmohamady, Michael Dawson and Abel Hernandez appeared to be nearing the exit door.

Even Bruce himself was rumoured to be considering his own future.

Indeed, while suggestions at the latter are yet to properly dispel – Bruce has recently been linked with a bumper pay-day at Fulham – the club emerged from a nervy period relatively unscathed, with only Nikica Jelavic jumping ship to West Ham.

Add to that the signings of Ryan Taylor, Moses Odubajo and a loan deal for Isaac Hayden, and suddenly the club boast a squad list that is arguably better than the one which limped out of the top flight at the end of last season.

Such a seismic change in fortune means that expectations have naturally altered.

Where the club would previously have targeted a play-off place, now a top-two spot has to be the minimum.

The same could be said of fellow relegation sufferers Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, the latter, who, more through stubbornness than luck, managed to hold on to star striker Charlie Austin and winger Matt Philips.

The difference between these sides and Hull, however, is that continued efforts to rid their clubs of deadwood and clear the decks of high-earners means that they are in a period of transition, albeit with smatterings of Premier League talent in-between.

That is simply not the case at Hull.

Barring the off-field problems of Jake Livermore, this is a side that – on the face of it – boasts the level of harmony and balance needed to mount an immediate return to the top tier.

And now it is time for them to show it.

Their current run of four games unbeaten – two wins and two draws – suggests they are finally acclimatised to life back in the Championship, while victory last time out over a tricky Nottingham Forest showed signals of a catalyst for progression.

Next up, though, is the small matter of a Yorkshire derby against an equally in-form Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls’ own four-match unbeaten run – three wins and one draw – shows they’re far from pushovers, but it is games like this that Hull need to win.

Little wonder, then, that the Tigers are priced 7/4 to get three points on Saturday, with Wednesday at 6/4.

Key to any Hull’s form this season has been the organisation of their backline.

Bruce’s men boast the joint-best defensive record in the Championship this term, conceding just seven times, while Wednesday’s is one of the poorest in the league with 14 against already.

As such, Hull are 19/10 to keep a clean sheet, with Wednesday 7/4 to do the same, suggesting that there will be goals in this one.

Hull are yet to score more than twice in the league so far, something their opponents on Saturday have done on two occasions, but with such quality across the pitch there’s every chance they will this time around – over 3.5 total goals is an intriguing one at 3/1.

Abel Hernandez’s five league strikes this term means he is good value to get on the scoresheet (11/5 to score any time), while Chuba Akpom has looked good at times (11/4).

But that is not to say Wednesday don’t offer their own threat.

Atdhe Nuhiu is much more capable than his two league goals suggest (5/2 to score any time), while Fernando Forestieri (11/4) also offers a threat to the Hull defence.

With the games coming thick and fast throughout the autumn and winter months, there is the potential for turbulent times ahead for much of the Championship.

For Hull, though, this represents the perfect opportunity to underline themselves as the league’s best.

Otherwise it will be yet another disappointing campaign.

Sheffield Wednesday v Hull betting

Championship betting

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