Premier League preview: Hull City Tigers

Danny Graham's arrival on loan from Sunderland should boost their goal tally.
Danny Graham's arrival on loan from Sunderland should boost their goal tally. Photo: PA

Last season: The Championship

They tried their best to throw away automatic promotion in the final two games last season, however Steve Bruce's northern battlers finally scrambled over the line and the promise of Premier League riches. The former Sunderland and Wigan boss headed into the KC job with big question marks over his managerial capability, but silenced the doubters with a successful promotion charge that had the Tigers' fans purring.

Hopefully lessons have been learned from their last heady, but ultimately doomed, spell in the top flight when Phil Brown's infamous half-time dressing down on the pitch at Manchester City nearly sparked a relegation run. They went the whole hog the next season under Iain Dowie to slip back down, prompting a wage bill clearout that steadied the sinking Humber ship.

Bruce earned promotion at the first asking with a solid team that did the bread and butter well, nicking wins by the odd goal with an occasional thrashing thrown into the mix. It was quite an accomplishment bearing in mind nobody managed double figures in goals with Nigerian Sone Aluko, former West Brom cult figure Robert Koren and forward Jay Simpson chipping in the most.

His striking options have been boosted considerably in the close season with the arrival of powerful Ivory Coast striker Yannick Sagbo from Evian and the loan of Sunderland forward Danny Graham, while George Boyd's free switch from Peterborough should help supply the ammunition alongside usual suspects Koren, Ahmed Elmohamady, Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn and David Meyler.

Besiktas outcast Allan McGregor will provide much needed experience in goal and should help maintain a stingy backline that earned 16 clean sheets last time out. Curtis Davies and Maynor Figueroa add Premier League nouse alongside James Chester and Liam Rosenior with man mountain Abdoulaye Faye, Alex Bruce and Paul McShane backing up. If Bruce can eke out a few early wins, then they could surprise a few people.

Ins: George Boyd (Peterborough, free), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan, free), Curtis Davies (Birmingham, undisc), Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland, undisc), Allan McGregor (Besiktas, £1.8m), Steve Harper (Unattached, free), Danny Graham (Sunderland, loan), Yannick Sagbo (Evian, undisc).

Outs: Andy Dawson (Scunthorpe, free), Danny East (Portsmouth, free), Sonny Bradley (Portsmouth, free), Tom Cairney (Blackburn, loan), Corry Evans (Blackburn, undisc).

Maynor Figueroa is capable of long-range rockets like above racing up from left-back.

Player to watch: Yannick Sagbo. The 25-year-old Ivory Coast international has the tools to trouble top-flight defences and could be the X Factor any newly promoted side needs to survive. He is not the tallest, but his brawn and speed should work well alongside Sunderland refugee Graham or Aluko.

Something to prove: Allan McGregor. The Scottish international keeper was once linked with Manchester United and Spurs in his prime at Rangers therefore he will be keen to show his doubters he can cut it. Still only 31, he will be key to the Tigers' survival.

Predicted finish: 19th

Relegation odds: 9/13

Your view on Hull's potential strikeforce:


@itvfootball Boyd and sagbo with aluko playing behind them and graham as a super sub