As the curtain is set to be drawn on the return of English football, the KCOM Stadium will host its first Sky Bet Championship fixture in one-hundred-and-eleven-days when Hull City welcome the challenge of fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
Both clubs have had their fair share of struggles before and after the footballing pyramid was called to a halt back in March. With Lee Bowyer’s ‘Addicks’, most notably, left wounded by the revelation that three first-team players, of which includes top-scorer Lyle Taylor, were refusing to play for the club again ahead of their contract expirations at the end of the month.
Charlton currently find themselves grappling with the prospect of playing League One football next season, sitting two-points from not just safety, but Grant McCann’s ‘Tigers’. Three points for the East London outfit would see them swap places with this weekend’s opponents, who are struggling to come to terms with the absence of key players who left the club back in January.
In what is your typical relegation six-pointer, Hull City will be without captain Eric Lichaj, vice-captain Jackson Irvine, Marcus Maddison and Stephen Kingsley who have failed to negotiate contract extensions, leaving a club walking aimlessly and leaderless towards the drop.
As well as the departure of Jarrod Bowen to West Ham in the winter, Charlton boss Bowyer has admitted the difficulty of preparing for a Hull side totally different to the one they shared the spoils within a 2-2 draw back in December. A Grant McCann side that are winless in twelve games before the league was suspended, a victory on Saturday is almost a necessity for both teams if they are to keep up their survival bids.
It could definitely go either way for sure, with both teams vulnerable at the back and blunt going forward. Either one could possibly edge a win on the day, and despite a draw being far more probable, I am going to go with Charlton Athletic for the win this weekend due to the fact they have won 43.75% of their fixtures against Hull City historically. You can’t argue with stats, right?
Match preview written by Ethan Evans.