Hull City have five games in February to make further progress up the Championship table
The madness of the January transfer window is now firmly behind us, and the focus can now be centered on the remaining 17 games of the league season, a period Hull City hope will see them produce a dramatic run of form.
Liam Rosenior’s men have five games in the year’s shortest month starting with the visit of struggling Cardiff City on Saturday, a game which takes on a very different look following last weekend’s thumping home win over QPR.
That convincing 3-0 victory ended a torrid run without a win at the MKM Stadium dating back to October 5, and with that monkey well and truly left behind, City can now move forward and really reap the benefits of Rosenior’s work.
Cardiff’s arrival in East Yorkshire will see the City head coach take charge of his 12th league game since taking over in November, and in that run, the Tigers have lost just twice, form which has seen them ease away from trouble.
When the sides met in South Wales in Rosenior’s second game, a terrific 3-2 win for the Tigers saw them move level on points (24) with the Bluebirds thanks to a Dimi Pelkas goal and a thumping brace from Regan Slater.
A run of four wins and five draws later, coupled with defeats to Reading and Sheffield United, City have given themselves a faint chance of extending their campaign, while the Welsh outfit have amassed just six points and sacked their manager.
City sit 15th with 37 points from their 29 outings. Standing between them and a place in the top six are nine clubs and more importantly, a gap of just six points.
One significant positive for Rosenior is that between now and season’s end, his side will take on almost every team standing between themselves and a place in that play-off zone.
There is, of course, an awful lot of work to be done, but under Rosenior, City are averaging 1.55 points a game which, if you average it out over a season would give you 71 points and a fighting chance of a place in the top six.
After the visit of Cardiff and new manager Sabri Lamouchi, the Tigers travel to Stoke who sit below them in the table. After that trip to the Pottes, the visit to Norwich City (currently 7th) will provide them with one of their biggest away tasks in the remaining weeks of the season.
The month ends with a home game with Preston (11th) and then the long trip to Bristol City on Saturday 25 – and it’s worth noting, in each of those three away games, City will be backed by a significant away following thanks to the free travel offered by Acun Ilicali.
More than 30 coaches will be heading to the bet365 Stadium next Saturday with more than 2,000 fans already snapping up tickets to see Rosenior’s men.
As much as a run of fixtures can look palatable in the Championship, February should hold absolutely no fear for City, particularly given their away form – one defeat in nine – and now a renewed confidence at home.
Victory over Cardiff is a must to kick things off on the right note, and then the ‘points accumulation’ as Rosenior often says will be in full swing.
A play-off spot would still be a shock, a significant one, but City have given themselves a fighting chance and with 15 points up for grabs in the month, a haul of eight to 10 would boost their hopes significantly and set them up nicely for a shortened run in March of just four games.