Hull City kick off their home campaign tomorrow when they welcome The Brewers Burton Albion to the City of Culture. After a solid point at Aston Villa last week Leonid Slutsky will be hoping his side can register their first win of the season in front of the home crowd. Burton Albion are a side tipped to struggle so this is a game City need to target three points from.
City’s turbulent summer has been well documented and it will have been a welcome relief for Slutsky and his players to get the competitive stuff underway last week at Villa Park. They faced a very familiar face in Steve Bruce and it was the former City manager who watched his side get off to a fast start.
Gabby Agbonlahor had already missed a sitter before he scored the opening goal after some slack defending early on. He was left totally unmarked at the back post and made no mistake to give the home side the lead. City have an awful record at Villa Park and it looked like the trend would continue. Villa could have scored a couple more and killed the game off but they didn’t and to their credit Slutsky’s side gradually got a foothold in the game.
As the second half began City were desperate to find an equaliser, step forward Jarrod Bowen. The young winger had already got some headlines after his goals in pre-season but everyone knows his name now. He hit Kami Grosicki’s cross with a cultured left foot volley that flew into the back of the net. He sprinted away to celebrate with his Dad in the crowd which was a brilliant sight to see and it showed how much it meant to the young lad.
Neither team could find a winner but Slutsky will definitely have come away happier with the point than Bruce. A draw away at Villa could be hard to come by this season for most visiting sides so it’s a good building block to start from, the challenge now is to kick on against a side City are expected to turn over.
Burton started the season is disappointing fashion as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Cardiff but they did beat Oldham 3-2 away from home in the Carabao Cup in midweek. They are clearly leaking goals and Fraizer Campbell and Abel Hernandez will be looking to exploit that.
Leonid Slutsky will be looking to mastermind City’s first win of the season tomorrow and they will be looking to take the game to Burton at the KCOM. The Russian eluded to that ahead of the game, “It’s another kind of work this week compared to last week because we are preparing to face a different team”.
He is starting to stamp his authority on his teams tactics and he eluded to the importance of his footballing philosophy, “Maybe we will change formation, but first it is very important that we have a philosophy and principles, and there are a lot of principles to take on board – principles in position, in attack, in counter-attack, in pressuring opponents, high defensive lines, deep defensive lines – we must understand all of these and more”
On new signing Larsson Slutsky said “It is very important to me that we sign players of a high level and Seb is one of those. He is a very good player and one that I am sure our supporters will know of. He is a versatile player who can play as a winger, as a number 10 and as an offensive midfielder – there are many positions possible for him”
Burton manager Nigel Clough was pleased to avoid extra time in the cup in midweek which looked likely at one stage. He doesn’t have a deep squad to pick from and he eluded to that after their win over Oldham, “We didn’t want a lot of the lads in contention for Saturday playing 90 minutes tonight so we were pleased to avoid extra time, But there was a lot of good play and a lot of encouraging signs”
Seb Larsson has arrived this week on a free transfer and that could turn out to be a cracking bit of business. He has plenty of experience and will provide a calm head in City’s midfield. He could make his debut tomorrow.
Kevin Stewart could make his home debut after an ankle injury picked up in training prevented him playing at Villa last week. Slutsky may not be willing to risk his fitness at this early stage of the season though.
Other than the possible inclusion of Larsson and Stewart it is unlikely there will be many changes to the City side tomorrow.
As for the visitors they came through their midweek cup game unscathed and winger Lloyd Dyer is the only man likely to be missing after picking up an injury against Cardiff last week.