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WEST BROMWICH ALBION v HULL CITY
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 10th January 2015, 3:00pm
The Hawthorns

After last week's 'taster' against Gateshead, the Tony Pulis era starts in earnest this weekend with the visit of Steve Bruce's Hull City.

The lift the former Stoke and Crystal Palace boss has given the Hawthorns' faithful is clear for all to see. After months of doom and gloom around the place following the appointment of Alan Irvine, Pulis really has come in like a breath of fresh air, and if he can manage to instil confidence and belief into his players the same way he has done with supporters then Premier League survival will be a good bet.

The Baggies do have to start winning games though. For around two years now the club seem to have simply forgot how to win. Pulis must now do what neither Steve Clarke towards the end of his reign, Pepe Mel or Alan Irvine managed to do - string a run of good results together. He must do it with a team lacking confidence and also quality, especially in midfield and up front.

Albion's attacking options are especially weak and it's understandable that they appear to be the area Pulis is targeting most to improve during this month's transfer window. With only the 'troubled' Saido Berahino looking anything like a Premier League striker, another forward is clearly at the top of Pulis' wish-list with Peter Crouch, Jon Walters and Rudy Gestede all linked with moves to The Hawthorns over the last couple of weeks. A couple of pacy widemen also appear to be on the club's radar with moves for the Tottenham duo of Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend both being mooted, although realistically, perhaps unlikely to happen.

For now Pulis must go with the players he has inherited and one would have to assume that it will be pretty much the same Albion line-up as we have seen for most of the season. Ben Foster, Andre Wisdom and Joleon Lescott should return after being rested for the cup tie against Gateshead whilst Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans, James Morrison and  the in-form Stephane Sessegnon will most likely make up the midfield. Up front is where changes may be made with Pulis having to decide whether to go with two strikers as he did against the 'Heed' or whether to revert to a lone striker. At home, where the onus is on the hosts to chase the game, two strikers would be most people's choice but with only Saido Berahino showing any kind of form it's not so straight forward. Whilst Victor Anichebe appears to be the perfect Pulis player - strong, fast and powerful - his injury record prevents him from being anything more than a bit-part player. Meanwhile, record signing Brown Ideye continues to struggle to make an impact, failing to even figure against Gateshead last weekend. With Sunderland, Newcastle United and Hull all reportedly interested in signing him it appears to be only a matter of time before Albion cut their losses with the Nigerian international.

Whilst most of the media are concentrating on the ins and outs of the transfer window, Pulis and his new backroom team of David Kemp and Paul Jewell will be concentrating on picking up three points from another one of those 'winnable' games, games that we have generally failed to win in recent times.

Hull travel to The Hawthorns themselves in a poor run of form although it is a run that has improved slightly during the last couple of weeks. Wins over Everton and Sunderland have lifted Bruce's men out of the bottom three although they remain just one point and two places above the Baggies going into the game. Very much like Albion, one of Hull's biggest problems has been a lack of goals, the Tigers scoring in just four of their last 13 outings.

With Albion having won just three out of their last 15 games and Hull just two out of their last 14, it promises to be a nervy game with both sides low on confidence and both sides possibly more worried about not losing than going for a win, especially given the current proximity of both teams to the bottom three. However, with Hull missing a number of key players and with the Tony Pulis 'factor' thrown into the mix, Baggies' fans may just return home from The Hawthorns a little bit happier than usual.

ATWD Prediction: 2-1

MATCH NOTES

The game will be the 53rd competitive meeting between Albion and Hull City. The Baggies currently have a slight edge in terms of victories with 19 compared to The Tigers' 18.

The Baggies' last game on this date came in 2009 when they suffered a 2-1 Premier League defeat away at local rivals Aston Villa. The club's last win on January 10 came back in 1981 in a First Division clash against Leicester City at Filbert Street, Ron Atkinson's men recording a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Martyn Bennett and John Deehan. A full run down of Albion's record on this date over the years can be found here

Hull's last game on January 10 came in 2009, the Tigers suffering a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton. Their last win on this date came in 2004 when a Stuart Elliott goal was enough to secure a 1-0 victory at Darlington in a League Division Three encounter.

Albion have yet to beat City in Premier League action, drawing three and losing two of the five games played.

The Baggies have won just eight of the 39 league games they have played over the last 12 months.

Hull are attempting to record back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time in 16 months.

Albion's last six games: Gateshead (H, FAC) 7-0; West Ham United (A) 1-1; Stoke City (A) 0-2; Manchester City (H) 1-3; Queens Park Rangers (A) 2-3; Aston Villa (H) 1-0.

City's last six games: Arsenal (A, FAC) 0-2; Everton (H) 2-0; Leicester City (H) 0-1; Sunderland (A) 3-1; Swansea City (H) 0-1; Chelsea (A) 0-2.

TEAM NEWS

Albion

Swedish defender Jonas Olsson is edging closer to a first team return but won't be ready for the clash with the Tigers.

Midfielder Craig Gardner should be fit following a calf problem with Baggies' boss Tony Pulis having an almost fully fit squad to choose from ahead of his first league game in charge.

Hull City

Nikica Jelavic (illness) and James Chester (knee) both return for the Tigers after missing the FA Cup defeat at Arsenal on Monday and they may be joined by Michael Dawson who has returned to training after missing the last month due to a hamstring injury.

However, Steve Bruce will be without Liam Rosenior, Andy Robertson, Gaston Ramirez, Robert Snodgrass and Mohamed Diame for the Hawthorns' clash.

MATCH ODDS

Result

Albion Win: EVS, Hull City Win: 3/1, Draw: 9/4.

First Goalscorer

Albion: Berahino 4/1, Ideye 11/2, Anichebe 11/2, Samaras 13/2, Blanco 8/1, Sessegnon 8/1, Varela 9/1, Gardner 10/1, Brunt 12/1, Dorrans 12/1, Morrison 12/1, Dawson 20/1, Mulumbu 20/1, McAuley 25/1, Lescott 25/1, Baird 28/1, Yacob 28/1, Pocognoli 33/1.

Hull City: Hernandez 15/2, Jelavic 15/2, Aluko 9/1, Ince 9/1, Sagbo 9/1, Brady 12/1, Meyler 16/1, Livermore 20/1, Huddlestone 20/1, Elmohamady 25/1, Davies 25/1, Quinn 25/1, Chester 28/1, Maguire 33/1, Figueroa 33/1, Dawson 33/1.

No goalscorer: 7/1.

www.williamhill.com

REFEREE

Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

Swarbrick has officiated one Albion game so far this season - the 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland on the opening day of the season.

He refereed two Albion games during 2013/14 - the 3-3 draw at home to Spurs in April and the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns in November.

The Lancashire official has taken charge of two Hull games this season - the 0-0 draw at Liverpool in October and the 2-2 draw at Newcastle United in September.

Swarbrick has issued 75 yellow cards and two red in the 17 games he has officiated this season.

A full run-down of Swarbrick's history refereeing the Baggies can be found here

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets are now on general sale to Albion supporters priced at 25 adults, 20 seniors, 15 under-21s/students and 10 under-17s.

The club are running a special deal for the game - two adult and two junior tickets are available for 40 if purchased before 5pm on Friday, January 9, however, this does not apply to tickets purchased for the West Stand.

WEATHER FORECAST

Sunny, 5C.

FIXTURE HISTORY

Albion's first league meetings with Hull City took place in the Second Division during the 1905/06 season. The first game between the sides, at The Hawthorns, ended in a one all draw - Ted Pheasant the Albion goalscorer with a penalty.

City won the return fixture four months later with ease, running out 4-0 winners at Anlaby Road thanks to goals from Joe Smith, Gordon Wright, Davy Gordon and Andrew Raisbeck.

The Baggies' biggest win against Hull came in April 1930 when they recorded a 7-1 victory at The Hawthorns, Jimmy Cookson netting four of the Albion goals.

City's best win of 5-1 came at Anlaby Road in April 1910, Jack Smith hitting a hat-trick for the hosts

Albion's last league victory over the 'Tigers' came at the KC Stadium on 12 January 2008 when goals from Kevin Phillips, James Morrison and Roman Bednar guided 10 man Albion to a 3-1 victory.

The Baggies have lost just two of the last 14 meetings between the clubs at The Hawthorns and just once in their last six visits to Hull.

The two teams have met five times in Premier League action with Hull winning twice and the other three games ending in draws.

A full fixture history between the two teams can be found here

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

(Click on game to view)

Saturday 31 January 2009 - Hull City 2-2 Albion - Premier League - KC Stadium
Saturday 23 February 2008 - Albion 1-2 Hull City - League Championship - The Hawthorns
Saturday 12 January 2008 - Hull City 1-3 Albion - League Championship - KC Stadium
Saturday 8 May 1993 - Albion 3-1 Hull City - League Division Two - The Hawthorns
Wednesday 10 April 1991 - Albion 1-1 Hull City - Second Division - The Hawthorns
Saturday 10 December 1988 - Albion 2-0 Hull City - Second Division - The Hawthorns

LAST LEAGUE MEETING AT THE HAWTHORNS

Albion 1-1 Hull City
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 21st December 2013, 3:00pm

Albion: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell (Gera 79); Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu; Sessegnon (Vydra 69), Long, Sinclair (Berahino HT). Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Yacob, Lugano, Amalfitano.

Goalscorer: Vydra 86

Booked: Jones 64 (foul), Gera 88 (foul)

Hull City: McGregor; Chester, Bruce, Davies, Figueroa; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler; Graham (Boyd 80), Sagbo (Fryatt 88). Subs not used: Harper (gk), Rosenior, Koren, McShane, Faye.

Goalscorer: Livermore 28

Booked: Meyler 40 (foul)

Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 24,753

Matej Vydra's late equaliser rescued a point for West Brom against Hull City at The Hawthorns in caretaker boss Keith Downing's first game in charge. On-loan Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore gave Hull a deserved lead with a cool finish on the counter attack. But Czech striker Vydra levelled four minutes from time with his first goal since joining on loan from Udinese. It was the Baggies' first point in five league games.

Downing, who was placed in temporary charge of West Brom after Steve Clarke was sacked as head coach, included goalkeeper Ben Foster for the first time since August following his return from a stress fracture in his foot. However, the England international was picking the ball out of his net after less than half an hour as Albion were punished for a poor start. The hosts were caught on the counter when a half-hearted penalty appeal was turned down after James Morrison tumbled in the box under pressure from Tom Huddlestone. Hull midfielder David Meyler seized on the loose ball and sent Danny Graham away. The Tigers striker squared for Livermore, on a season-long loan from White Hart Lane, who raced into the area and coolly slid the ball under Foster.

Downing introduced England Under-21 forward Saido Berahino for the ineffective Scott Sinclair at half-time in a bid to lift his side's fortunes. And the talented youngster, 20, created Albion's first meaningful effort on goal with a fiercely struck half-volley that was beaten away by Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor. The chance seemed to give the home side greater belief and McGregor had to be alert to gather a Gareth McAuley header from a corner moments later. Hull remained a threat on the break and West Brom were indebted to a double save from Foster as he denied Huddlestone and Ahmed Elmohamady. Shane Long, the subject of a 5m bid from Hull on deadline day only for West Brom to pull the plug, was quiet for most of the contest but played a part in Albion's equaliser. The Republic of Ireland striker got in behind the Hull defence and fed the ball to Zoltan Gera, who found fellow substitute Vydra. He swept the ball home from 10 yards to give West Brom a share of the spoils.

BBC Sport

CURRENT CONNECTIONS

Albion goalkeeper Boaz Myhill spent almost seven years at Hull before joining Albion in July 2010 in a 1.5million deal.

Curtis Davies joined Albion from Luton Town in August 2005 and spent two successful seasons at The Hawthorns before leaving to join Aston Villa. Spells at Leicester City (loan) and Birmingham City followed before he joined Hull in June 2013.

Paul McShane joined Albion from Manchester United in August 2006 as part of the deal that took Tomasz Kuszczak to Old Trafford. He spent just one season at The Hawthorns before leaving to join Sunderland. He moved on to Hull in August 2008.

PAST CONNECTIONS

Amongst the players to have turned out at various levels for both clubs are: Paul Anderson, Peter Barnes, Tony Brien, Neil Clement, Delroy Facey, Alan Fettis, Chris Hargreaves, Derek Hood, John Kaye, Kevin Kilbane, Robert Koren, Shane Long, Gordon Nisbet, Jay Simpson, Richard Sneekes, Gerry Summers and Jason van Blerk.

Brian Little managed both clubs; Stuart Pearson played for the Tigers and was a coach at The Hawthorns; Former Albion assistant manager Mick Brown was a Hull player; Gordon Dimbleby was Commercial Manager at The Hawthorns and General Manager at Hull.

ALL-TIME LEAGUE & CUP RECORD VS HULL CITY

 VENUE P W D  L F A
 Home 25 12 8 5 41 25
 Away 27 7 7 13 27 42
 Total 52 19 15 18 68 67

LAST TEN MATCHES AGAINST HULL CITY

DATE COMPETITION H/A F-A GOALSCORERS     GATE
Sat 06 Dec 2014 Premier League A 0-0    23,279
Wed 24 Sep 2014 League Cup H 3-2 Ideye, McAuley, Berahino - Ince, Brady    10,496
Sat 22 Mar 2014 Premier League A 0-2 Rosenior, Long    23,486
Sat 21 Dec 2013 Premier League H 1-1 Vydra - Livermore    24,753
Sat 31 Jan 2009 Premier League A 2-2 Simpson, Brunt (pen) - Mendy, Fagan    24,879
Sat 25 Oct 2008 Premier League H 0-3 Zayatte, Geovanni, King    26,323
Sat 23 Feb 2008 Championship H 1-2 Bednar - Campbell, Folan    22,716
Sat 12 Jan 2008 Championship A 3-1 Phillips, Morrison, Bednar - Garcia    18,391
Sat 03 Feb 2007 Championship A 1-0 Kamara    18,005
Sat 05 Aug 2006 Championship H 2-0 Hartson 2    20,682

 
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