Hull City-Cardiff City Preview

RYAN WILLOX (STATS Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Hull City's first visit to Cardiff City on Premier League duty is shaping up to be the proverbial relegation 'six-pointer'.

The need for points appears most pressing for the Bluebirds, who have been mired in the relegation zone for some time.

The pressure is also starting to build on Hull City who, despite some good early season form, could end the weekend in the bottom three with a sequence of unfavourable results in other matches.

Combined the teams have lost 13 of their last 20 league games and have won just three games between them in that span.

Hull (7-6-13) have been shut out in five of their last seven Premier League matches and Cardiff (5-7-14) have failed to score in more than half (14/26) of their league matches this season.

The trip to Wales is bookended by FA Cup matches for the Hull who face a replay against Brighton and Hove Albion after the sides drew 1-1 on Monday night.

Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor insists the Hull's focus must be entirely on Cardiff come Saturday afternoon.

"Cardiff is a massive game," McGregor told the official club website. "Especially so after the last few weeks when everybody down at that end seems to be picking up points. It's a massive game for us. I think we'll have to play better than we did against Brighton.

"We were better in the last 15 or 20 minutes of that game with better movement up front and playing the ball in to feet to get into better positions But I thought we could have played a lot better. We kept the ball in the first half but were just going from side to side and apart from the two efforts against the bar, we didn't really have a shot on target."

The Bluebirds suffered a disappointing 2-1 home defeat in the FA Cup last weekend to holders Wigan Athletic, who are now in the second tier.

Norwegian international Mats Moller Daehli completed his first full 90 minutes for the side since signing during the winter transfer window and believes the Cup heartbreak will give Cardiff renewed impetus to battle Hull.

"I thought we played well, but we have to take our chances at this level," Moller Daehli told the official club website. "If you don't you get punished and that's what happened. We had enough chances to win the game, but just didn't take them and we have to work on that.

"You want to win every game you play and now we will focus on the league and doing well there. We just need the belief and to take our chances and we will be fine.

We are determined to beat Hull and all the players know the job that needs to be done. The Hull game is massive now."Saturday's atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium will be in marked contrast to the corresponding fixture last season. Cardiff were in celebratory mood having secured the Championship title while Hull City needed victory to secure promotion as runners-up.

The match ended 2-2 and included both a missed and converted penalty in stoppage time but the point was ultimately enough to send the Tigers up.

The sides drew their first ever top flight meeting 1-1 at the KC Stadium in September. Curtis Davies put the Tigers ahead, but Peter Whittingham scored the equalizer before the hour mark.

Hull will be without Robby Brady and Paul McShane while there are doubts over the participation of Liam Rosenior, James Chester and Sone Aluko.

Cardiff will be without midfielder Guy Medel and have doubts over Mark Hudson and Jordon Mutch while Craig Bellamy is serving the last of his three-match suspension.