Stoke City-Hull City Preview

The Associated Press

Steve Bruce has an escalating off-field issue to contend with as he prepares his Hull City side for Saturday's home match against Stoke City.

Hull owner Assem Allam has formally applied to the Football Association to change the club's name to Hull Tigers despite objections from a section of the team's followers. The FA responded by saying a consultation process will be undertaken with various stakeholders, including supporter groups. Whatever the final outcome, there is likely to be on-going protests by some fans.

On the pitch, Hull (5-3-7) drew 1-1 at Swansea City last weekend with on-loan striker Danny Graham scoring his first goal for the Tigers. It ended a run of four straight road defeats for Bruce's side, who have accumulated most of their points this season at home. The Tigers have picked up 14 points at the KC Stadium, with four wins, three draws and only one defeat in front of their own fans.

Hull are 12th in table with a total of 18 points and have won only two of their last nine league matches. That disappointing sequence of results has left the East Yorkshire club just five points above the relegation places.

Tigers wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady, who was outstanding against Swansea, wants his side to build on the fighting performance at the Liberty Stadium.

"It was good to get a point against Swansea because that is a tough place to go to," Elmohamady told his club's official website. "We knew we would have to work hard to get anything from Swansea and we all did. We scored early and had other chances as well with (Yannick) Sagbo and (David) Meyler but a draw was still good.

"We have a tough home game against Stoke coming up on Saturday now and hopefully we can get the three points from that one."

Stoke (4-5-6) beat Chelsea in a Premier League match for the first time on Saturday after on-loan winger Oussama Assaidi came off the bench to hit a brilliant late winner to seal a memorable 3-2 victory for the Potters. Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland were also on target against the Blues.

It was only the Potters' second win in 12 league matches, but it moved them up to 13th, one point behind Hull.

A big worry for Stoke manager Mark Hughes is his side's poor away form. They have picked just four of a possible 21 points on the road with just one win, one draw and five defeats.

Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen was delighted with the result against Chelsea but insists the Potters must maintain that form going forward and throughout the festive season.

"It was a huge victory for us and one that gives us all a huge boost as we prepare for a very busy Christmas period," he told "There is no point winning games like we did against Chelsea and then going and losing in other matches. We need to keep the momentum and try to win more games than we have done so far this season.

"In terms of performances I think we can be pleased with what we have produced, but there is no doubt in my mind that we should have more points on the board than we currently have. Saturday was huge for us though; it has given us even greater confidence and now we want to go to Hull at the weekend and replicate the performance levels that we showed against Chelsea."

Hull will be without midfielder Stephen Quinn (hamstring), forward Sone Aluko (Achilles) and defender Joe Dudgeon (knee).

Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is doubtful after suffering a thigh injury in training. Striker Jonathan Walters is suspended, while Dutch defender Erik Pieters is available after recovering from a groin injury.

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