Victory this evening, and City could go top of the Championship.
Yes yes, it’s far too early to be troubled by League tables. They shouldn’t really have dashed lines added to them until the clocks change. And it’ll probably take a two goal victory anyway.
But still…wouldn’t it be nice? There isn’t quite a sense of gloom surrounding City at the moment, more a sort of pensiveness. No-one, including Steve Bruce, can be sure who’s actually going to be here when the table does become meaningful. Perhaps the fillip of going top does have something to be said for it.
However that’s assuming Fulham turn up and thoughtfully roll over for us. It’s hard to imagine that happening. Their start – and it’s barely even a start with 44 games remaining – has been modest, drawing at Cardiff before a home defeat to Brighton, sandwiching a League Cup win at Wycombe. You’d hope for more. But a victory at the KC tonight against a side favoured by many for promotion, and their opening to 2015/16 rapidly assumes a brighter hue.
Fulham haven’t prospered in East Yorkshire of late. After a lengthy separation we resumed occasional contact in 2008/9, and all three of their latest visits to Hull have been defeats, most notably and recently that 6-0 annihiliation in December 2013. Only once in six Premier League encounters did the Cottagers best the Tigers.
Adopting a wider view, the records are about level, City winning 33 to Fulham’s 29 of a total of 89 meetings since 1908. That may have little bearing on tonight, but team news will: City are awaiting fitness reports on Clucas, Meyler and Hayden – all suffered knocks in the draw at Wolves on Sunday, though most (if not all) are expected to be fit. Meanwhile, Abel Hernández is available for the first time this season after serving the suspension he picked up on the final day of last season, though whether the want-away striker is worth a place is another matter.
Fulham’s injury list concerns the longer-term unavailable, with Fernando Amorebieta , Luke Garbutt, Jack Grimmer, Scott Parker and George Williams all missing.
At a best priced 7/10, City are strong favourites to make it seven points from three games, while Fulham’s hopes of matching us on four are as long as 11/2. Equivocators can get the draw at 3/1. And are we allowed to mention that Derby’s moderate start to the season has pushed us back to second favourites for the title (7/1)? Oops.