New to the City reporting team, Mitchell Whiley looks ahead to the weekend’s action.
A Saturday afternoon trip to The Valley sees Hull City take on the in-form Charlton Athletic. Following on from a late winner against Fulham midweek, squad rotation and match fitness could prove crucial factors as City take on their fifth fixture in two weeks.
After a mid-table finish last season, the Addicks have been given long odds by the bookies to achieve anything more than that again this season. Guy Luzon’s men have had a tough opening three matches, but have come through undefeated to sit two points below City. A solid 2-0 win against freshly-relegated QPR saw them take maximum points in their first tie, followed up by draws against Derby and Nottingham Forest. Tony Watt will be City’s greatest threat, after he managed to net in both of Charlton’s opening two league matches, as well as in their League Cup round one success over Dag and Red. However, a calf injury could see him sit out this one. The second choice striker in Ghoochannejhad is out with an ankle injury.
After Steve Bruce reported that there are no fresh injury concerns for the match, don’t expect too many changes to the line-up. Talks of a Jelavic move to Premier League new boys Norwich could one again see him on the bench as Akpom and Hernandez look to build chemistry with their striking partnership. After his late winner, Aluko could once again get a start in the midfield, and the strong relationship between Davies and Dawson at the back looks set to continue, despite the hectic beginning to the season. Although Diame has returned to full training, and there is strong word that a Shaun Maloney deal is close to completion, neither will be involved this weekend.
A poor recent record against Charlton has seen City win only three of the last nineteen, but it isn’t enough to put the bookies off as the visitors will start as favourites. If City are to avoid defeat here, it will be the first time in fourteen years that they have managed to do so in the opening four matches of a league season. With only QPR having a poorer away record last season in the Premier League, the statistics are not favourable to City. Although Charlton have scored in ten of their last eleven at home, a lack of goal scorers could prove critical as both teams seek to continue their unbeaten beginning to the season.