Marco Silva plays down significance of Robert Snodgrass' return to Hull

31 March 2017 03:53

Hull head coach Marco Silva stressed no special attention will be paid to Robert Snodgrass on Saturday when the West Ham winger makes his first return to the KCOM Stadium since leaving in January.

Tigers fans' worst fears were realised at the turn of the year when the club finally and reluctantly accepted a reported £10million bid for the wantaway Scotland international.

But Silva, typically, played down the significance of Snodgrass' return as Hull prepare to face West Ham and then relegation rivals Middlesbrough at the KCOM in the space of five days.

When asked what kind of reception he thinks Snodgrass will get from Tigers supporters, Silva said: "I don't know.

"He did good work here and now he is our opponent. We'll pay respect, we like him of course, but now he is our opponent and my focus is on my players and my team only."

Snodgrass had scored 12 goals for Hull before his departure and had arguably been their best player as they embarked on what quickly turned into a Premier League survival battle.

"All of us at the club were disappointed he left, but he has," Silva added.

"We don't want to put all the focus on him. Our opponents have a lot of players with good quality.

"When the game starts he is one player in the other team and what is important is our players.

"If I have one plan only for Snodgrass, maybe I'll forget the others and I don't want to do that.

"We've prepared to face one team, not one player. West Ham, in their attack line, have very good players and we 've prepared for the game by focusing on our squad. That's most important."

Of more concern to Silva is how to fill the void left by suspended midfielder Tom Huddlestone, who starts a three-game ban after being sent off in the recent defeat at Everton.

Huddlestone, outstanding under Silva this year, was dismissed for a tackle on Idrissa Gueye, which even Everton boss Ronald Koeman described as harsh, and Hull launched an unsuccessful appeal against his red card.

"Of course it's a frustration and disappointing," Silva added. "I told you after the (Everton) game my opinion.

"We appealed it because it was our obligation to do so. It wasn't only my opinion. I listened to the opinions of other managers, but it's the decision and we don't have Tom for the next three games and have to find solutions.

"He's an important player for us in an important position and it's a moment for other players to come in and show for me they are ready as well."

With Evandro still not ready to return from a calf problem, Markus Henriksen, fit again after a shoulder injury, and David Meyler will vie for a starting place in Huddlestone's absence.

Silva could be tempted to start with two strikers up front as on-loan Oumar Niasse is available again after being ineligible to face parent club Everton.

But Silva will make a late decision on whether to include fellow striker Abel Hernandez, who only returned from international duty with Uruguay on Friday.

Skipper Michael Dawson could provide Silva's troops with a timely lift after returning to full training on Wednesday. The experienced centre-half has missed the last eight games with a calf injury.

Victory for Hull will not be enough to lift them out of the bottom three as the team immediately above them, Swansea, have a better goal difference.

But Swansea play Middlesbrough at home and if Hull can maintain their fine home form under Silva by beating West Ham, they will set themselves up nicely for the Teessiders' visit to the KCOM on Wednesday.

Source: PA


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