Cardiff City-Hull City Preview

RYAN WILLOX (STATS Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Cardiff City's visit to Hull City Tigers on Premier League duty this Saturday has a hard act to follow to live up to the two sides' previous encounter on the final day of last season.

In a nerve-shredding denouement, Hull City survived a missed penalty in the 94th minute from Nick Proschwitz and a 95th minute equalizer by Cardiff's Nicky Maynard, also from the spot, to secure the point they needed to claim top-flight football in an epic 2-2 draw.

A pulse-pounding afternoon ended with Tigers' players huddled round a TV in the tunnel watching rivals Watford fail to net the goal that would have knocked them out of an automatic promotion spot, and fans spilling onto the KC Stadium turf in jubilation when news of confirmed promotion filtered through.

At face value Saturday's rematch may seem to have less at stake but Tigers defender James Chester believes the winner will have a leg-up in the race to avoid relegation back to the Championship.

Despite two defeats in their opening three matches, Hull City come into this game on the back of good performances against the division's heavy-hitters and Chester is looking for his side to maintain their momentum.

"From the opening game at Chelsea to that Manchester City match, I thought we showed that we have learnt things already and can compete with the top teams," Chester told the club website. "We've now got Cardiff at home and this is the kind of game that we have to be looking to win if we're going to stay in this division. They're a side that came up with us, so we need a performance on Saturday."

Manager Steve Bruce will have close to a full squad to choose from after all of the Tigers who were on international duty this week came through their matches unscathed.

Sone Aluko, who has been fouled more than any player in the Premier League this season (12), is fit after recovering from a hamstring problem. AbdoulayeFaye has overcome a calf injury and will also be available. Yannik Sagbo is unavailable as he serves the first of a three match suspension following his red card in the 1-0 win over Norwich City.

Cardiff were not so lucky with their returning internationals and have a serious injury concern over goalkeeper David Marshall who left Scotland's 2-1 win over Macedonia at half time with a hip injury.

Marshall has started 81 straight league games in goal for the Bluebirds, last missing out in November 2011. Should Marshall not recover in time, Joe Lewis will make his Premier League debut against the Tigers.

Cardiff will be boosted by the availability of forward Peter Odemwingie, boss Malky Mackay's eighth and final summer signing secured on deadline day. The Nigeria international arrives in Wales after a turbulent period at West Bromwich Albion and is in line to make his Cardiff debut on Humberside.

"I'm delighted to complete my move to Cardiff City. I'm looking forward to this fresh start at a club that is really going places, a team that's progressing fast." he told the club's official website.

Cardiff City took four points from Hull City last season en route to winning the Championship. Heidar Helguson and Mark Hudson secured the points in Wales despite a late Robert Koren consolation.

Frazier Campbell gave the Bluebirds the lead on that dramatic day in May before Hull City took the lead through Proschwitz and Paul McShane. Proschwitz missed from the spot and Maynard converted to ensure the match ended all square.

The clubs are meeting in the top flight for the first time after 58 previous clashes in the lower divisions.

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