Hull V Spurs at The KC Stadium : Match Preview

31 January 2014 11:31
Hull V Spurs - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hull v Spurs

Steve Harper will start in goal for Hull as Tottenham head to the KC Stadium, with regular stopper Allan McGregor ruled out through suspension after his red card at Crystal Palace.

Manager Steve Bruce can also count on Robbie Brady (groin) if needs be, with Maynor Figueroa (muscle problem) also available to play if required. Strike duo Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long are poised for home debuts.

Midfielder Stephen Quinn is in line to start in midfield as Jake Livermore, on loan from Spurs, is unable to face his parent club. Sone Aluko (Achilles) is expected to feature in a reserve game next week as he continues his comeback.

Bruce wants his Hull side to "stay with it" as the battle for Barclays Premier League survival intensifies.

When City beat Fulham 6-0 on December 28, the word relegation could not have been further from the minds of those at the KC Stadium.

A winless and goalless January in the Premier League has sharpened minds, though, and Tottenham will arrive in East Yorkshire on Saturday to face a side with just one win from their last 10 top-flight games.

Narrow defeats at Norwich and Crystal Palace have not helped, but Bruce, a veteran of several dogfights over the years, is keeping a cool head.

"It's a quite unique sort of season. The top four have record points and there aren't two teams running away with it and two teams cut off," he said.

"So there are 10 clubs in it; I'm sure from Southampton downwards you're looking over your shoulder.

"We're one of them. We've had a really tough run of late, we always knew something was round the corner in the Premier League and we would have been naive to think we wouldn't have a bad patch.

"I still think we've got to win four or five games, and if we do that I think we'll be safe.

"We have some big games and need to simply win one or two of them. We have to stay with it."

Bruce saw his side narrowly beaten the last time they played Tottenham - a hotly-debated penalty winning it - but it will be a different Spurs side that take to the field on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood has replaced Andre Villas-Boas at the helm and brought with him a new, all-out attacking style which has served him relatively well so far.

The system failed in a 5-1 loss to Manchester City on Wednesday, but Bruce is reading little into that.

"Anybody who plays Manchester City loses 5-1 or 4-1," he said.

"There's nothing new there and we see how Manchester City are so strong and they're blowing the league away at the moment. There's no shame in that.

"We know Spurs have some outstanding players and are making a fist of getting in the top four.

"I'm delighted Tim has been given an opportunity. It makes a refreshing change to see a young English coach getting a chance and let's hope it continues."

Long-term absentees Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul and Paulinho are all available for Tottenham.

Midfielders Erik Lamela (thigh), Sandro (calf) and Andros Townsend are out.

Left-back Danny Rose is available after the red card he received against Manchester City was overturned on appeal.

Sherwood has challenged Etienne Capoue to show him that he is worthy of a first-team place at Tottenham.

Capoue became a regular under Andre Villas-Boas following his transfer from Toulouse last summer, but the Frenchman has only started one Barclays Premier League game under Sherwood.

The midfielder agitated for a move away from Spurs in a bizarre deadline day interview for a French newspaper in which he branded the English "ignorant".

The 25-year-old said he would consider leaving White Hart Lane in January if it improved his World Cup chances, but he was told to stay at Spurs until at least the end of the season.

Now Sherwood, who has a tendency to shy away from using holding midfielders, has told the France international he needs to prove his worth.

"He's here until the end of the season and hopefully he'll get enough chances to prove he's good enough to play in his national team at the World Cup," the Spurs boss said.

"To get in the team he just has to play and train well and show that he's as good as what's in front of him. That's how it is.

"Whatever we're left with after deadline day, it's pretty much a clean slate. I'm not going to pick anyone just because he's English or French, it's not like that. If you're playing well and I like you better than the other one, then ultimately I like to win football games so the best team plays."

Source: PA