Hull City host Swansea City on Friday night looking to arrest an alarming recent slide, which has seen the Tigers slide down the Championship table and start to look nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
The Tigers failed to build on securing a point at Reading in a 1-1 draw last weekend, instead falling to a 3-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers after shipping three goals in the final 17 minutes to leave them sitting in 15th place in the table ten points clear of the drop zone.
That defeat at Blackburn means that Grant McCann’s side have now suffered five defeats in their last six Championship matches, and they have failed to win since securing a 1-0 win at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day, which has put pressure on the Tigers to start turning around their form over the next few weeks.
McCann’s side are not being helped by an ever growing injury list, and Hull could now be without all three of Herbie Kane, Eric Lichaj and James Scott for the rest of the campaign, which will make life even more challenging for the Tigers to find a way to re-find some positive form.
Swansea, meanwhile, head into the game looking to make a return to winning ways themselves, with the Welsh club having gone four matches without a win in the Championship to drop out of the top six, and they will be hoping to use their goalless draw at home to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday as a stepping stone for a victory at Hull.
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Here then, we take a look at the starting XI that McCann should select against Swansea on Friday…
Considering Hull’s current lengthy injury list there is little by the way of options for McCann to look to change things up for his side, which he might have otherwise been tempted to do in the wake of a 3-0 defeat on Tuesday night – and so the Tigers could line-up fairly similar to the way in which they did at Blackburn.
George Long was uncharacteristically guilty of making a real individual mistake for Blackburn’s third goal in mid-week, but the keeper still managed to show his quality with a couple of smart interventions to keep the Tigers on level terms during the opening 45 minutes, and he could be needing to have another solid display against Swansea.
In the continued absence of Lichaj, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes should keep his place in the side down the right-hand side of the Tigers’ defence and he was a decent outlet going forwards against Blackburn last time out, while Callum Elder should also keep his place at left-back.
With the likes of Jordy Wijs, Reece Burke and Ryan Tafazolli continuing their recoveries from injury, McCann could stick with the pairing of Robbie McKenzie and Sean McLoughlin at the heart of their defence, although if Matthew Pennington is fit enough to feature he could come into the thinking.
In midfield, McCann could stick with Dan Batty and George Honeyman, with Jackson Irvine potentially being allowed to get a little closer to the lone forward up front, and all three will need to show a little more than they did in their defeat at Blackburn in mid-week.
In the wide positions Keane Lewis-Potter will be continuing to push Mallik Wilks for a starting place, but McCann could opt to stick by Wilks for the visit of Swansea, while Marcus Maddison should continue to keep his place in the side down the right-hand side of the Tigers’ attack.
The one change that McCann could look to make is to bring Tom Eaves into the side in place of Josh Magennis, with the striker capable of adding more of a physical presence up front for the Tigers against Swansea – and Hull will be needing him to get back to form in front of goal if they are to turn their form around.