Hull City made it five league games unbeaten in the Championship on Tuesday night, with a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at The KCOM Stadium.
The victory has seen Grant McCann’s side climb to 13th in the Championship table, and ended Garry Monk’s unbeaten start to life as Sheffield Wednesday manager.
It was a win that will have taken particular significance for one Hull man in particular, as Tom Eaves came off the bench to score his first goal for the club since joining from League One Gillingham during the summer transfer window to seal the three points for the Tigers.
So just how good was Eaves for Hull on Tuesday? And can he build on it in the rest of the campaign to carry his side forward throughout the rest of the season?
Here, we put the spotlight on the striker’s performance against Sheffield Wednesday to find out.
Having come off the bench with just under half an hour remaining in the game, to replace another summer arrival in the form of Josh Magennis, Eaves certainly made the sort of impact that will have been expected from him.
With Eric Lichaj sending a deep ball into the box 72 minutes into the game, the striker produced a brilliant, acrobatic header to guide the ball across the face of Keiren Westwood’s goal and in off the post to score the only goal of the game, securing the three points for the Tigers.
Considering that would prove to be Eaves’ only attempt during the game, it does appear as though the striker could be starting to find his range for Hull, suggesting that he should be able to take his chances when they come to him.
Given it was such an impressive header that broke the deadlock, it is perhaps no surprise to see how effective Eaves was in the air, and with the fact that he won four aerial duels – and entered into six in total – in less than half an hour on the pitch, there can be no doubting that he is going to be a threat in the air this season.
One thing that may be a source of frustration for Eaves, however, is that he was only able to win one offensive duel throughout his time on the pitch, suggesting that he may still have some work to do to become accustomed to coping with the pressure of Championship level defences, although the fact that he entered into eight of those duels does at least highlight his intent and desire to make an impact.
Even so, it does also seem as though Eaves’ role in the side is going to be pretty well set going forward this season.
Having entered into as many aerial duels as he made passes against Sheffield Wednesday – while proving more successful in the air – it appears as though Eaves’ most effective role is going to be as a target man this season, rather than as an attacker who looks to make things happen for other members of the Hull side this season.
With the likes of Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen still in this Hull side, however, that creative role is not necessarily one that the Tigers need him to play.
Indeed, if his performance against Wednesday is anything to go by, then Hull may have just found a man capable of taking advantage of the significant amount of chances that the likes of Grosicki and Bowen are able to supply.