This afternoon sees one of the games of the Football League weekend, as two promotion-chasing sides meet at the KC Stadium.
Steve Bruce’s Hull City are fourth in the Sky Bet Championship, and they take on the surprise package of the season so far, in the form of Gary Rowett’s second placed Birmingham City.
Here are three things to look out for in what should be a highly entertaining encounter:
1) Clayton Donaldson
31 year old Birmingham City striker Clayton Donaldson makes his return to East Yorkshire against the club where his career began.
The Blues’ striker made his debut for the Tigers in 2002 having graduated from their youth academy, but only managed two appearances in his three years in Yorkshire.
Donaldson signed for Birmingham City in 2014 and has been an ever present for the Blues this season, finding the net four times in the Championship, including a hat-trick in the Blues’ 4-0 win over Bristol City last month.
The Tigers are yet to lose at home so far this campaign, but Donaldson will be a pose a serious threat to Hull City, who will be without defender Curtis Davies who limped off after 18 minutes in his side’s 3-0 win over Ipswich Town on Tuesday.
Blues boss Rowett will be hoping the powerful striker can fire his side to a fourth straight away win.
2) Abel Hernandez and Chuba Akpom
Hull City have scored in every league game so far this season, despite manager Bruce preferring to deploy a lone striker for the majority of the campaign.
In the Tigers’ 1-1 draw away at Yorkshire neighbours Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday, Bruce started with Uruguayan international and club record signing Abel Hernandez as a solitary striker, but with the 25 year old becoming isolated, and the Owls taking the lead, Bruce was forced to bring on Arsenal loanee, Chuba Akpom, to partner Hernandez.
The substitution proved fruitful for the Tigers as Akpom immediately started causing the Wednesday defence problems, and Hernandez swiftly found an equaliser for Hull City following Akpom’s introduction.
Akpom started Tuesday’s game alongside Hernandez against Ipswich Town, and the attacking pairing didn’t give the Ipswich defence a moment’s rest, chasing down the ball at every opportunity, and the pace and power of both players constantly caused problems on the counter attack.
Bruce will be hoping his new-found strike partnership will be the key ingredient to his side gaining immediate promotion back to the Premier League, and firing his side to what would be a huge three points against a more than capable Birmingham side.
As aforementioned, the Tigers have scored in every league game so far this campaign, where as visitors Birmingham City have only failed to score in two games this season.
Both teams head into Saturday’s fixture in fine form. Hull are unbeaten in six, winning three, and Birmingham have won their last four, three of which have been on the road.
The fixture is a huge game for both sides as they look to cement their places in the top six, and give themselves breathing space from the chasing pack.
Both Bruce and Rowett will be hoping that their form will be enough to help towards taking three points this afternoon in what should be a hugely entertaining affair.
It has the potential to be one of the Sky Bet Championship’s games of the season.
Hull and Birmingham fans… what do you think the score will be this afternoon? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!