Hull City fell to another defeat and slipped further down the table as they were pegged back by Preston North End after taking the lead in the first half.
Grant McCann’s side haven’t been the same since the early stages of 2020 and that could be largely attributed to the sale of both Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen on transfer deadline day.
No league wins since New Year’s Day have seen Hull fall well away from the play-off chase and closer to the relegation zone as they sat on 41 points when they made the trip to Deepdale to face the Lilywhites.
There were positives for the Tigers to build on after scoring four against Swansea City last week, but conceding four meant they have a lot of area for improvement as they faced Preston.
They took the lead through Mallik Wilks in the first half but were pegged back and fell behind in the space of four second-half minutes after goals from Paul Gallagher and Alan Browne, turning the game on its head and sealing the win for the home side.
It now sees Hull sit seven points above the relegation zone with 12 games to play and the nerves might just be creeping in at the KCOM Stadium.
Here are three things we learnt about the Tigers in their 2-1 defeat to Preston…
Wilks is firing
Even though Hull fell to a defeat, the first-half performance and the individual efforts of Mallik Wilks were enough to be able to take some positives from the game.
While the loss of their two prized assets were always going to be very tough to get over, it seems as though Wilks is stepping up to the plate at the moment for McCann.
Having scored twice in recent games, Wilks added to his tally at Deepdale when he flicked a deft header across Declan Rudd to register the first goal of the game and his second shot on target to take the lead.
Goals have been hard to come by without the two main men that left in January, but Wilks is helping to shoulder that burden.
The defence has slipped massively
McCann’s setup was built on a very strong defence that would provide a platform for the attack to spring counters, limiting their opponents to few chances in the game.
However, this game outlined a trend that the Tigers have been all too easy to follow recently in their games by allowing their opponents too many chances.
The start of the second half saw Preston camped in the Hull penalty area and creating a steady flow of chances which ultimately led to the penalty which Gallagher converted.
Once they let Preston back into the game, it was only going to end one way.
How much do you know about Hull City’s new signings?
Time to look over their shoulders?
This win now leaves the Tigers just seven points clear of the drop with a massive slump in form over the past two months. They have what it takes to steer well clear of the relegation zone but these are somewhat nervy times in East Yorkshire.
While a 2-1 defeat is narrow and not an embarrassing result against a side gunning for promotion, there were definite warning signs that it could get worse, especially as they prepare to face a Barnsley side in midweek with their tails up.
A mixed bag of fixtures from now until the end of the season and the weekend just underlined how their slump is going at the moment.
Injury problems haven’t helped them either with Tom Eaves being the latest to be taken off with what looks like a lengthy injury layoff.