Crystal Palace-Hull City Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Hull City will be hoping to continue their solid start to the season when they host fellow promoted side Crystal Palace at the KC Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Bruce set Hull (4-2-5) a ten-win target to avoid relegation back to the Championship, and the north-east club have already picked up four of those wins in their first 11 games to put themselves in with a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.

A victory on Saturday would further boost the mood around a city that was this week awarded the UK City of Culture mantle, and would also help distract from the unpopular headlines that continue to circle about the owner's proposed move to change the club's name to Hull Tigers.

"I can understand the unhappiness, because in our country especially we are really big traditionalists and a lot of people have supported the club since the year dot where it has been Hull City AFC," said Bruce when asked about the issue in his pre-match press conference. "But the owner has come in and he's in a different culture and for the money he has put into the club if he thinks Hull Tigers is his way forward then we have to respect it.

"It might not suit everybody and I can understand those traditionalists, but for the amount of money he has put in if he asks us to play in pink and white stripes on Saturday we have to do it because without him there wouldn't be either a Hull City or a Hull Tigers. Instead the club would be someone like Portsmouth where you are struggling to survive."

Crystal Palace (1-1-9) have suffered a difficult start to the season, and are already six points off safety and struggling to move on from the resignation of manager Ian Holloway. A 0-0 draw with Everton just before the international break ended a run of seven consecutive defeats and earned Palace their first point since August, but striker Cameron Jerome is aware that they are going to have to find a way to win more games if they are to stand any chance of remaining in the top flight.

"Obviously we've got to try and make it as hard as possible for teams to come to Selhurst and get a result," said the striker. "A point was a good step forward for us and if we can build on that in the next couple of games, we've got a chance to turn things around quickly.

"We've used the international break to pick our spirits up and have a bit of fun really. We've been working on a few things in terms of tactics and preparing for the upcoming fixtures we've got, but it's also been nice to have a few days' rest. We're ready to go and we're looking forward to the game at the weekend."

Hull City have injury doubts over Steven Quinn (hamstring), Robbie Brady (groin) and Allan McGregor (hip), but James Chester (hamstring) and Sone Aluko (calf) are out. Palace are without Adlene Guedioura (rib), Jack Hunt (ankle), Paddy McCarthy (groin) and Glenn Murray (knee), but may be able to call upon Jerome Thomas and Jerome Williams after groin and ankle injuries respectively.

The London club took four points off Hull in the Championship last season and are unbeaten in their last three trips to the KC Stadium.

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