Hull are in freefall. The Tigers have picked up just two points since their win against Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day and have lost each of their last five league games.
Last Saturday’s defeat at home to Charlton would have been particularly tough to swallow since they had three months to nurse players back to fitness and regroup as a team.
However, that three-month period seemed to do them absolutely no good as they looked just as poor at the KCOM against their relegation rivals. Birmingham, on the other hand, looked solid against promotion-chasing West Brom in their first outing since the fixtures resumed.
The Blues restricted their free-scoring hosts to just one shot on target and looked remarkably difficult to break down.
Coming up against Hull’s impotency in front of goal, they should have little difficulty keeping the Tigers at bay and should have enough firepower to score at least once.
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One of two absolutely huge games at the top of the table this weekend, Fulham’s trip to Leeds could seal Leeds’s promotion to the Premier League, or it could blow the race wide open.
Both clubs were underwhelming in their return to competitive action last weekend and both suffered 2-0 defeats. Had Fulham managed to beat Brentford, Leeds would be in a very precarious position, but they retain a relatively comfortable seven-point buffer.
However, should Fulham come away with a victory on Saturday, Leeds will still be looking nervously over their shoulder. A Leeds victory on the other hand, would give them even more breathing room in the top two and essentially secure their promotion to the top-flight.
This is squeaky bum time for The Whites, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a few nerves on Saturday afternoon.
Fulham simply have to make it as uncomfortable and edgy as possible for their hosts and will look to leave Elland Road with at least a point.
Will Middlesbrough get a new manager bounce from Neil Warnock’s arrival? Does Neil Warnock even bring a new manager bounce? Or does his arrival signal the end of all remaining enthusiasm left in the dressing room?
Whatever the answer to those questions, one thing is certain; Middlesbrough need change.
Like Hull, Boro have been plummeting down the table in 2020 and, like The Tigers, they got off the worst possible start to the rescheduled campaign and currently sit one place – and just two goals – above the bottom three.
Falling three goals behind after just 34 minutes against Swansea can’t have helped morale on Teeside and Warnock will have to work quickly to lift spirits ahead of the trip to Stoke on Saturday.
Stoke will have taken great encouragement from their last gasp equaliser at Reading and will fancy their chances of spoiling Warnock’s initiation this weekend. The Potters are by no means safe of the relegation zone themselves and teeter perilously close to the bottom three.
The definition of a six-pointer, this one has stalemate written all over it.
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