KC Stadium

Know Your Enemy: Hull City

by Ashley Houghton

We take a look at another of the league's new boys.

The Tigers returned to the Barclays Premier League after a two-year stay in the Championship was ended last season with a second-place finish under former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.

Bruce’s side secured automatic promotion on the final day of the campaign with a draw against title winners Cardiff City.

The goal that sealed promotion for Hull, who won 11 away games during the campaign, was scored by Paul McShane, one of two former Black Cats to ply their trade on Humberside, the other being David Meyler.

Sunderland wide man Ahmed Elmohamady was voted Tigers’ Player of the Year for the 2012-13 campaign after a string of impressive performances during his loan spell.

The 276-mile round trip to Hull’s KC Stadium is the second-shortest the Black Cats’ fans will make during the new campaign behind only the Tyne-Wear derby at St. James’ Park.

The 25,404-capacity stadium, which has been the Tigers’ home since their move from Boothferry Park in 2002, will be the second smallest in the Barclays Premier League with only Swansea’s Liberty Stadium holding fewer fans at capacity.

Sunderland will look to extend a fine record against Hull in recent years with the Black Cats winning the last six games between the two sides whilst the Yorkshire side are also without a point against the Wearsiders in top-flight football.

The Tigers’ last win against Sunderland came in 1990 as Denis Smith’s play-off chasing side went down 1-0 in the clash at Roker Park.

And, though Sunderland have a fine run of form against Hull, City’s manager Bruce will look to extend an excellent record against his former club which has seen the ex-Birmingham boss lose just three of the 15 games he has taken charge against them.

Black Cats head coach Paolo Di Canio never played against Bruce despite the two playing for Steel City rivals, Sheffield Wednesday and United respectively, though Di Canio did score an 89th-minute equaliser for West Ham United against Bruce’s Birmingham on the final day of the 2002-03 campaign.

George Boyd, who made his loan move from Peterborough permanent this summer, will come up against international teammate Steven Fletcher when the two sides meet this season.

Equally, McShane, Meyler, Stephen Quinn and Robbie Brady will play against their international captain in Sunderland defender John O’Shea.

Corry Evans, brother of former Sunderland loanee Jonny, is likely to feature during the campaign for Bruce’s side.

Following the announcement of the initial Barclays Premier League fixtures in June, the Black Cats are set to travel to Hull in November whilst Bruce will return to the Stadium of Light for the first time in February.