Premier League 2013-14 preview: Steve Bruce and Hull City prepare for survival battle
Hull City and Steve Bruce are back in the Premier League once again, and the Tigers would have loved to make an explosive start to life in England’s elite division, somewhat replicating their start in 2008.
However, the opening fixtures have considerably dampened the expectations around Hull, as the newly promoted outfit will face stern tests right in the beginning with their opening two matches are against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Manchester City at the Etihad.
Hull City gained their promotion in somewhat similar circumstances to that of City’s title winning campaign back in 2011, as the Tigers took it right down to the wire, in order to secure Premier League football for another year. Steve Bruce’s side had to rely on cross-town rivals, Leeds United to hand them the promotion, after the Peacocks stole a crucial victory against Zola’s Watford, against all odds.
While Steve Bruce’s side played a relatively cultured brand of football in the Championship last season, the biggest concern for them was their goal-scoring problems. Injuries to key strikers Sone Aluko and Matty Fryatt last season left the Tigers toothless in front of goal for most of last season.
It was however a testament to Steve Bruce’s abilities that the former Manchester United defender managed to secure promotion despite having one of the worst goal scoring records in the league.
Meanwhile, off the field problems have marred the pre-season for Hull City as fans voiced against club owner Assem Allam, who tried to change the club’s name to Hull City Tigers in order to improve the marketability which will in turn bankroll the wage bill and transfer costs.
However, manager Steve Bruce has scraped the barrel for funds and seems to have addressed their key issues from last season. Hull have got themselves two new strikers in Yannick Sagbo and Sunderland’s Danny Graham, who could form a potent attacking quartet with fan favourite Ahmed Elmohamady and Robert Koren.
Hull City have spent the last 4 seasons in the Championship plagued with managerial and hierarchical instabilities, however the appointment of Bruce has somewhat calmed things down for the Yorkshire outfit, as the former Sunderland manager is a bit of specialist with weaker teams and is an expert in gaining promotion with them.
The onus of securing their status in the Premier League next season will lie on the experienced shoulders of Elmohamady and Koren, both of whom are experienced with the Premier League, having played for solid mid-table teams such as Sunderland and West Brom.
While It is expected that the Tigers would do everything in their power to ensure survival, Bruce and his men will be rubbing shoulders with the elite. But the least, that can be expected of them is, they will go down swinging, if it comes to that.