Hull City looking to bounce back from cup upset against Norwich City


Hull City welcome Norwich City to Humberside on Saturday afternoon with the hosts looking to build on a positive start to their Championship campaign.

The Tigers’ opening day 2-1 win against Bristol City was followed up with a credible goalless draw at Preston North End last weekend. Despite that start, a Carabao cup exit to Bradford City on Tuesday evening had soon brought boss Shota Arveladze back down to earth following a 2-1 defeat at Valley Parade.

Keen not to dwell on the result, Arveladze knew all too well that it was ‘a bad performance’ and that the opportunity to get more minutes and game time into legs as well as scoring more goals, was ultimately lost and put his side back a step after an unbeaten start in the league.

Whilst acknowledging the defeat, the former Rangers man played down the scale of the disappointment, pointing towards a number of Championship sides being knocked out in the opening stages of the competition.

Having lost key faces in Keane Lewis-Potter and George Honeyman over the summer, speculation continues to grow over the future of talented centre-back Jacob Greaves. The 21-year-old has a year left on his current contract with a further year option but has recently knocked back the club’s latest offer to agree on terms.

When asked whether the situation would be a distraction to matters on the field, Arveladze has been around the block too many times as a player and a manager to get too concerned and that patience is required as to how things are played out behind the scenes. The Georgian had no qualms with Greaves’ professionalism and has trained very well during the week.

“He’s the second captain of the team and has grown up here, knows the club, knows the place. I think there are some things that may not fit now, but may in a month or two months time. It’s going to come and we’ll find the best solution.

“Generally, if somebody wants to leave they’ll leave anyway. The main point is it doesn’t affect his game or his training sessions which I have to say, he does very well and I’m happy to have him here.

“Sometimes, something we (the club) want, may not work. Something they (the player) want and it doesn’t work. We’ll find the best for both sides. Like I said, in his early age he does well and he’s a captain. He realises how much we need him. It’s his life, his future and I believe he has smart people around him who give him good advice and do what is best for him and for us as well.”

In team news, City will be without Tyler Smith, Ryan Longman and Greg Docherty. Nathan Baxter, Dogukan Sinik and Brandon Fleming also remained sidelined.

“Bristol was promising, and Preston was unconvincing. Four points when not playing so well is a good sign though. Bradford was a disaster. Hopefully, Mallik Wilks has played his last game for us. There are possible question marks over the system and its attacking potency. Seri and Tufan look very good, the back 3 are solid, Ingram is in great form, but Estupiñan is not yet match fit.” – Ant Northgraves – Hull City supporter

Goalkeeper Matt Ingram, who was in inspired form to keep a clean sheet at Deepdale last weekend, is looking forwards to being back in front of the home support and hopes to build on their opening day win as City continue to bed a number of new faces in. As the squad spends more time together, developing their understanding of one another, winning momentum can play a key part in strengthening that integration.

“It can build a bond in the dressing room and with the fans as well. They were brilliant in that first game. There is an excitement and a few more thousand at the stadium which is nice. We need to keep getting the results to keep the buzz.”

“They really got behind us when we were 1-0 down and got us over the line. It would be really good if we could get a few more wins and positive results at home.”
Welcoming newly relegated Norwich City to the MKM Stadium, Arveladze recognised that despite the Canaries’ indifferent start to the campaign, they will pose a huge threat with a squad full of Premier League quality which enabled them to make ten changes against their cup victory over Birmingham City, which was secured by penalties.

Similarly to City, Dean Smith will be hoping that his new signings can begin to integrate themselves further into his Norwich blueprint. Following opening day defeat to Cardiff, the Canaries could only draw against promoted Wigan Atheltic but Smith was pleased that last weekend’s showing at Carrow Road was more like he expects from his side, particularly going on the offensive.

Teemu Pukki is a proven finisher in the Championship when given ammunition but it will take time for his new faces to understand how to get the best out of the striker. However, there are players that should be well versed with the Finnish international.

“That understanding and relationship with the players at the top end of the pitch doesn’t come overnight. But we have brought in four new players and only two have played with him so far. The majority of the players have played with Teemu and know him.

“It is two league games so far and he was unfortunate not to score in the Wigan game. At Cardiff we felt that we weren’t good enough overall, as an offensive team, but the Wigan game was more of what we are about.

“The likes of Todd Cantwell, Kenny McLean, Milot Rashica, Kieran (Dowell) have all played with Teemu and would know knows the service he needs.”

Following the Tigers, stuttering home form last season, Smith will sense an opportunity to get his side up and running with an away victory at the MKM Stadium.

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