Strugglers United: Hull take on Everton as both sides seek an upturn in fortunes

Hull v Everton, Premier League, November 25, 2009

Hull 13/5; Draw 9/4; Everton 10/11

Sharing disappointing recent form of two draws, two defeats and just one win in their last five games, two of the Premier League’s strugglers this season – Hull and Everton – face off on Wednesday night at the KC Stadium.

Despite hovering just above of the relegation zone, Phil Brown has managed to hang onto his job by his fingernails with his most recent mini-triumph arriving last Saturday in an epic 3-all draw with West Ham.

The Tigers started disastrously as the Hammers hit a quick-fire double, but Hull soon found their fighting spirit as they roared back to take a 3-2 lead thanks to a Carlton Cole own goal, a Kamil Zayatte( 12/1 to score) strike and a Jimmy Bullard penalty before the interval. Eventually the visitors claimed a share of the spoils though after City defender Bernard Mendy had been sent off, but having rescued a point from 2-down will have given Hull some degree of confidence.

Jimmy Bullard’s (7/1 to score & Hull win) return is one reason for the small upturn in Hull’s recent fortunes; the midfielder offers stability and assurance in the Hull midfield along with his ability to deliver from set-pieces. Further forward, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (12/1 to score a brace) is likely to have to make do with a place on the bench as young American striker Jozy Altidore (7/1 to score first), who was recently dropped by Phil Brown after angering him with a Twitter message, is back in the manager’s good books.

Elsewhere, Boaz Myhill may return for Hull between the sticks having been sidelined with a knee injury in recent weeks, while skipper Ian Ashbee remains a long-term absentee with his own knee problem.

David Moyes’ men are still struggling with a terrible injury list of their own. James Vaughan, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville, Victor Anichebe, Phil Jageilka and Mikel Arteta are still out of contention as the Merseysiders continue to bemoan their luck. Compounding matters,Marouane Fellaini and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov are also missing through suspension.

Of those fit and able, Evertonians will be hoping that their much-hyped teenager Jack Rodwell (6/1 to score) will up his game from his performance at Old Trafford last time out, where the youngster was rather anonymous. With some of the biggest clubs on the planet said to be sniffing around Rodwell, the Englishman needs to show that he is worthy of his burgeoning reputation, and fixtures against the likes of Hull need to be exploited to their fullest.

Up-top, Moyes has little choice but to start with two strikers, most likely to be Louis Saha (13/2 to score first & Everton win) and Yakubu Ayegbeni (9/1 to score a brace). Tim Cahill (7/4 to score) and Dan Gosling will almost certainly continue on the wings, simply because there’s little alternative. While in defence Everton should field a stable backline of Howard, Neil, Baines, Yobo and Distin.

Everton have already won away from home at the KC Stadium this season, trouncing Hull 4-0 (40/1 to repeat the scoreline) in the Carling Cup, and with the Merseyside derby coming up this weekend the Blue half of Liverpool will be looking for a midweek pick-me-up before the big one.

101predicts: Hull 1 – Everton 1 (9/2)

Hull 13/5; Draw 9/4; Everton 10/11

Full match odds here.