You run out of words to describe how bad Hull’s form has been in 2020, but a quick glance at the Championship table on January 1 sums it up pretty well.
Then, Hull were ninth, two points off sixth-placed Swansea and 18 points clear of Saturday’s opponents Luton. Now, Hull are 22nd, level on points with Luton and coming off the back of a hugely embarrassing 8-0 defeat to Wigan mid-week. Luton, on the other hand, have been excellent.
The Hatters have lost just one game since the return of Championship football and could be clear of the relegation zone were it not for the concession of late equalisers against both QPR and Barnsley.
They could not wish for a better opponent than Hull in their current form, but the ignominious mid-week defeat might just have given the Tigers a kick up the backside they needed to save their Championship status.
It happened with Southampton following their 9-0 humbling by Leicester. On that occasion, The Saints went to Manchester City the following week with everyone expecting a similar drubbing. Southampton, however, took the lead at the Etihad and it took an 86th minute winner for Manchester City to emerge with three points.
If The Tigersl have any pride at all, they will try their utmost to make up for that shambolic performance and they may just give their survival chances an unlikely shot in the arm.
Swansea’s Play-Off hopes suffered a huge dent with their failure to beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday and it is now unlikely that they will usurp Welsh rivals Cardiff in the top-six.
Bristol, meanwhile, still have a mathematical chance of making the Play-Offs, but they are all but out of the race.
With just two wins in seven since the return of the Championship, Bristol have themselves to blame for falling away in the hunt for sixth and now face two meaningless games as their season drifts to an unsatisfying conclusion.
Swansea will look to dominate the ball on Saturday and should be able to keep their hopes of a top six finish alive going into the last day.
Birmingham are lucky that Hull’s form has been so bad. Otherwise, there would be a lot more scrutiny on what has been a truly abject run of results.
Their late equaliser against Charlton in mid-week has saved them from being pulled further into the relegation dogfight, and they should have just about enough to stay up, but it is not yet guaranteed, something that would have been unthinkable before lockdown.
But, Birmingham have picked up three points from 21 since the restart and haven’t won in 12 league games in total.
They currently enjoy a five-point buffer over 22nd-placed Hull and a defeat on Saturday could see them looking nervously over their shoulder on the final day. Preston, for their part, have very faint hopes of making the play-offs following a poor run of results since the restart, but they could possibly take the fight to the last day with victory on Saturday.
Despite their poor form, all signs point to a Preston win.
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