With Brighton & Hove Albion’s opponents for the 2015/16 Championship season now confirmed, the club’s media team will take a look at the Seagulls’ 23 opponents for the next campaign.
The 12th team to feature in our opposition focus series is Hull City.
LEAGUE POSITION: 18th (Premier League)
FA CUP: Third round
LEAGUE CUP: Second round
TOP GOALSCORER: Nikica Jelavic (8)
2014/15 SEASON REVIEW
Hull City are returning to the Championship following a two-year spell in the Premier League, with their relegation confirmed following a 0-0 draw against Manchester United on the final day of the season.
It was in stark contrast to 12 months previously when the Tigers beat the drop and faced Arsenal in the FA Cup Final - earning themselves a Europa League place in the process.
A number of high-profile signings failed to reap dividends at the start of the new campaign. Robert Snodgrass and Mo Diame both suffered serious injuries and Abel Hernandez managed just four goals following his £10 million move from Palermo.
The Yorkshire side were knocked out of the Europa League in the qualifying stages after an away goals defeat to Lokeren, and their domestic form also plummeted. Despite a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on the opening day of the season, the Tigers recorded just one victory in their next 16 games - a run which saw them in 19th place at Christmas.
Hull faced Arsenal in the FA Cup third round, but goals from Per Mertesacker and Alexis Sanchez ensured there would not be another appearance in the final.
Consecutive defeats to Arsenal, Burnley and Tottenham in May left Steve Bruce’s side needing a win against Manchester United to stand any chance of staying up, but Newcastle’s 2-0 win over West Ham United at St James’s Park meant that the result at the KC Stadium was meaningless, as the Tigers’ fate was sealed.
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LAST TIME WE MET:
First-half goals from Curtis Davies and Robert Koren secured a 2-1 victory over Albion in this FA Cup fifth round replay, to set up a meeting with Sunderland in round six.
Koren was the provider for the first goal, as his corner was met by a Davies header inside the box that rose over both Jake Forster-Caskey and David Meyler at the near post, before rebounding off the woodwork and into the net.
City scored the second decisive goal nine minutes prior to the interval, as Koren’s free-kick took a wicked deflection and Albion goalkeeper Peter Brezovan could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Leo Ulloa scored against Hull once again after finding the net in the first tie between the sides at the Amex, and this time he managed to glance David Lopez’s free-kick beyond Steve Harper.
But there would be no comeback, as Hull claimed their place in the last eight of the competition.
Hull line up: Harper; Elmohamady, Davies, Chester, Figueroa; Koren, Livermore, Meyler (Quinn 84); Aluko (Boyd 76), Fryatt, Sagbo.
Subs not used: McGregor (GK), Rosenior, Bruce, Huddlestone, Faye.
Albion line-up: Brezovan; Calderon, Dunk, Upson, Ward; Ince (March 60); Lopez (Obika 89), Andrews, Forster-Caskey, Rodriguez (LuaLua 46); Ulloa.
Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Bruno, Greer, Chicksen.
Steve Bruce started his managerial career with Sheffield United and had short spells with Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace before taking the reins at Birmingham City in 2001.
After twice leading the Blues to promotion to the Premier League during his six years at St Andrew's, he left the club to take charge of Wigan Athletic for a second time in 2007. He left for Sunderland in 2009 before being sacked in November 2011.
Bruce was then appointed Hull manager ahead of the 2012/13 season and took the club back into the Premier League, before leading them to the FA Cup Final in 2014.
The aim for Hull will be to claim promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and in Steve Bruce, they have a man who knows the division well.
The main challenge for the Tigers will be to keep hold of their core group of players, who all have relegation clauses built into their contracts.
Robbie Brady and Andy Robertson have reportedly attracted plenty of interest as has last season’s top scorer Nikica Jelavic, Abel Hernandez and Dame N’Doye, who are all expected to leave the KC Stadium this summer.
Therefore, striking reinforcements may be needed in the close season, but the Tigers will still be one of the favourites for promotion going into the new campaign.