Hull City were unable to start 2024 with a positive result on New Year’s Day in front of 3,500 away supporters at Hillsborough, with a highly controversial red card for midfielder Tyler Morton meaning that the visitors had to trudge through over 60 minutes of football with a numerical disadvantage.
Despite having 10 men, Liam Rosenior told his players to maintain their front-footed approach – which in the end backfired – with second-half goals from Marvin Johnson, Djeidi Gassama and Josh Windass condemning the Tigers to back-to-back away losses in the Championship.
The Humberside club’s third defeat in four games – coupled with Sunderland’s routine victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon – has resulted in Rosenior’s men dropping out of the playoff positions ahead of FA Cup weekend, with Michael Beale’s Black Cats a point ahead in sixth place.
City are set for a busy January transfer window as they aim to give their promotion hopes a much-needed boost, and with Jaden Philogene currently taking up a place in the medical room, the recruitment of a high-class winger is a priority, and the Tigers are lining up a move for Burnley’s Manuel Benson.
The Tigers’ last match at the MKM Stadium saw the hosts come out on top of a five-goal thriller against Jon Dahl Tomasson’s Blackburn Rovers, with Liam Delap, Aaron Connolly and Alfie Jones getting onto the scoresheet to secure their side’s 11th win of the second-tier campaign.
After 83 days of horror under the stewardship of Manchester United and England legend Rooney, Birmingham are preparing for an FA Cup clash in Hull with Under-21s coach Steve Spooner in charge of the first team – a squad which devoid of confidence following a tough couple of seasons.
Blues won just two of their 15 Championship games since Rooney controversially replaced John Eustace in the middle of October, collecting only 10 points from the 45 available with the 39-year-old in charge – a tally which puts them bottom of the 15-match form table.
Steve Cooper, Tony Mowbray and Gary Rowett are among the frontrunners for a difficult-looking job in the Second City, but it is expected that stalwart Spooner will lead the team to the MKM Stadium, where Birmingham enjoyed a successful day back in October 2022 under Eustace.
Striker Troy Deeney bagged a 14th-minute penalty before a Juninho Bacuna thunderbolt made sure of the points in the second period, condemning Hull – who were then being managed by interim boss Andy Dawson – to a defeat which strengthen their case as relegation candidates in the opening months of last campaign.
Blues’ Welsh sensation Jordan James was arguably the only player to benefit from the questionable leadership of Rooney, with the 19-year-old becoming a key part of his side’s engine room, so much so that Serie A giants Atalanta BC have reportedly bid twice for the midfielder’s services