Pr: Hull City vs Bournemouth
Seriously, it’s fine. Yes, we’ve lost four on the bounce and yes, we haven’t scored since the opening day, but context is needed. In the last three, we’ve played a QPR team tipped for the playoffs, a Derby team fighting for its life and a Fulham side that’ll no doubt go up automatically. The Derby performance aside, City haven’t played badly, they’ve just been outclassed by more expensive squads. Fulham’s squad, for example, cost north of £150m, while City’s cost less than £1m. Like I said, context. There will be games, much like Preston, where City will have it easy, there’ll be some when City have to work hard for a point and unfortunately, there will be games where we just can’t match an opposition’s quality. This young side is keen to impress, Grant McCann is wanting redemption for the last campaign at this level and it’s proven that anybody can beat anybody at this level.
The last game before the international break brings Bournemouth to the MKM Stadium. Scott Parker’s side have yet to lose this season, though they threw a two goal lead away against Blackpool last time out and that will have knocked confidence a little. Nevertheless, having finished 6th last time out, Bournemouth will be hoping to go one better than the play offs and go up this season.
In goal for Bournemouth is Mark Travers, who City faced last season in League One when playing for Swindon. The defence is rather young, with an average age of 22; Lloyd Kelly, Chris Mepham, Zeno Rossi and Jordan Zemura are all under 23, but have contributed to Bournemouth’s start and two of them are full internationals. The experienced Gary Cahill is waiting in the wings if needed.
The midfield is where Bournemouth really stand out; Jefferson Lerma was signed for €30m, then a club-record fee and the Colombian international’s ability in the middle of the park is crucial to the Cherries’ success. Former Huddersfield youngster Phillip Billing (£15m) also provides a bit of bite, with David Brooks (£11m) providing the creative force. Morgan Rogers, who enjoyed a productive loan spell at Lincoln last season, has joined on loan for the season.
Up front, Dominic Solanke, who cost £19m, has three goals in four games, while Emi Marcondes looks like smart business on a free transfer from Brentford, having scored and assisted a goal already this season.
Yes, it’s another expensively assembled squad City have to face, but they should see games like this as a free hit. Bournemouth aren’t invincible, they have defensive frailties that can be exploited and from set-pieces, they look a tad shaky. They were stuffed 6-0 by Norwich in the League Cup in midweek, and optimists will be hoping this has shaken them up. Not an impossible job, but I’m predicting an enjoyably difficult affair. A point from this would be golden.
Player to watch: Dominic Solanke: Didn’t exactly set the world alight in the Premier League, but dropping down to the Championship has provided the one-cap England player a boost to his confidence; 15 goals came last season, while this season he has 3 goals in the first four games. He’s the one to keep quiet if City are to be successful in this one.
Bournemouth Team News
Jefferson Lerma will return in a boost to Scott Parker’s squad. Jack Stacey and Adam Smith remain sidelined, while Junior Stanislas and Lewis Cook will also be missing.
Hull City Team News
Honeyman and Wilks remain sidelined, but there could be a return for Ryan Longman after he was given the all-clear. Tom Huddlestone is pushing for his first start after he played 90 minutes for the U23s, while Alfie Jones could return after picking up an injury that kept him out of the defeat at Fulham. Di’Shon Bernard will want to keep his place given that an experienced defender could be heading in next week.
Predicted Hull City XI: Ingram, Coyle, Bernard, Greaves, Elder, Smallwood, Docherty, Cannon, KLP, Williams, Magennis.
Predicted score – Hull City 1– 1 AFC Bournemouth
Report by: Tom Haymes of Hull City OSC.