Hull City will be looking for a famous cup upset tomorrow as they face Premier League giants Chelsea tomorrow in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
Grant McCann’s side overcame Rotherham United 3-2 in the previous round thanks to a hattrick and match-winning performance from towering striker Tom Eaves, as his late third sealed the Tigers’ place in the hat for the next round in injury time at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Their win over the Millers set up a glamour tie with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who currently sit fourth in the Premier League and made it into the next round after overcoming Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the Third Round.
The Tigers are currently stuttering in the league as they look to push for the play-offs this season. The race for the top six in the Championship couldn’t be much tighter as we approach February, but back-to-back 1-0 defeats have seen Hull slip to seven points off the pace and have it all to do in the back end of this season.
Their league form will be put to one side for the weekend as the big hitters come to the KCOM Stadium tomorrow evening, knowing that a shock could very much be on the cards.
Here, we take a look at the side we expect Grant McCann to field tomorrow against Chelsea…
With the visitors almost certain to dominate possession against Hull, it would be wise for McCann to limit the space in the midfield that the likes of Jorginho and co. can have to pick their passes. This means it would be smart for him to operate with the 4-2-3-1 formation that we have seen in recent weeks, to help pack out the high-traffic areas and match Lampard’s side.
In goal will remain George Long, who has been a very safe pair of hands this season and breathed confidence into the defence in front of him with assured goalkeeping. Matt Ingram started in the previous tie against Rotherham but it might be the turn for a more full-strength team to be fielded by McCann in the face of a very strong Chelsea attack.
In defence, McCann’s hands are pretty much tied to fielding some of the only fully-fit defenders that he has available. It is expected to be a back four of Eric Lichaj, Reece Burke, Ryan Tafazolli, and Stephen Kingsley.
Can you name where these former Hull players are now?
With McCann confirming the absence of Jordy de Wijs, Callum Elder and Matthew Pennington, this defence presents the closest to full strength that Hull can field against Chelsea.
In a holding midfield pairing will be Leonardo Da Silva Lopes and Herbie Kane, who have both impressed in the league, despite being still very young. The absence of Kevin Stewart has forced McCann’s hand in this position too, meaning he can’t go elsewhere other than maybe Daniel Batty.
In an attacking midfield trio will be Jarrod Bowen, Jackson Irvine, and Kamil Grosicki. Having not started in the Rotherham game, it is certainly a match where Jarrod Bowen will start to match himself up against some of the Premier League’s finest, to potentially prove if he has what it takes in the top flight, amid speculation over his future at the KCOM.
Grosicki has just returned from injury and could be in line for a start against the Blues, while Jackson Irvine’s energy in midfield will be crucial if Hull are to get anything from this game.
Up front can be none other than the man who put Hull into the hat for the Fourth Round, and that is Tom Eaves. His three goals saw off the Millers and it would be extremely harsh to hand a start to any other player in the squad, so surely he is Grant McCann’s first name on the team sheet.