Preview: Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Preview: Hull vs. Spurs
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Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Hull City and Tottenham Hotspur, who have already gotten the better of the Tigers twice this term.

Tottenham Hotspur may just be relieved that it isn't Manchester City that they are playing this Saturday when they travel to the KC Stadium to face stuttering Hull City.

Ten-man Spurs were hammered 5-1 by the Citizens at White Hart Lane on Wednesday - their first top-flight loss under Tim Sherwood - two months after they were thrashed 6-0 at Eastlands. However, the Lillywhites have fared better against Hull this term.

They edged past Steve Bruce's men 1-0 in the Premier League courtesy of a Roberto Soldado penalty, while spot kicks were needed for them to eventually beat the Tigers in the Capital One Cup fourth round.

The Spaniard, benched for the last two games, could be recalled to Sherwood's starting XI this weekend if the Tottenham manager opts to revert to 4-4-2 and partner him with Emmanuel Adebayor.

Danny Rose's availability will depend on whether Spurs decide to appeal against the red card that was contentiously handed to him versus City, with Kyle Naughton on standby to deputise at left-back.

Moussa Dembele limped off at half time in midweek and therefore Etienne Capoue could be handed a first start since New Year's Day, if neither Paulinho nor Sandro are fit to compete for midfield places.

Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela are likely to be out for a further two weeks, while Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul are closer to returns but may not be considered for starting berths on Saturday.

Hull have lost five Premier League matches in a row to slip from the comfort of the top half of the table to within four points of the relegation zone, with the latest defeat coming at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

It has also been four games since the Tigers found the net in top-flight competition and so Bruce will be looking to newly-recruited strike force Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic to get them firing again.

Neither have yet to open their accounts for the Lancashire outfit, but are likely to be partnered together on Saturday, with Sone Aluko still sidelined. Defender James Chester is another long-term absentee and goalkeeper Allan McGregor is banned, so Steve Harper will take his place between the sticks.

Ex-Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone should come up against his former club, but Jake Livermore, on loan from the North London outfit, is ineligible and therefore Robert Koren could be recalled.

Recent form

Hull: LWLLWL

Spurs: LWWLWW

Possible starting lineups

Hull: Harper; Elmohamady, Bruce, Davies, McShane, Figueroa; Huddlestone, Meyler, Koren; Long, Jelavic

Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose; Eriksen, Bentaleb, Capoue, Lennon; Adebayor, Soldado

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood on the touchline during the Premier League match against Stoke on December 29, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City98103242825
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96212241820
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs96211961320
4Chelsea95131710716
5Arsenal95131712516
6Watford94321517-215
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9423108214
8Burnley934289-113
9Liverpool93421416-213
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
13West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9243710-310
14Leicester CityLeicester92341214-29
15Swansea CitySwansea9225610-48
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
17Stoke CityStoke92251020-108
18Everton9225718-118
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173