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Hull capture Clucas but Championship rivals have stormed a march

Hull City, 5/2 chances with Coral to go straight back up into the Premier League, have tried to dry dampened optimism about their Championship promotion prospects with the signing of talented Chesterfield utility man Sam Clucas.

The left-footer, who led the Spireites line in their League One play-off semi-final against eventual Wembley winners Preston North End, can play up or off the front and down either side of the pitch.

Such versatility suggests Clucas has been brought to the Tigers to replace Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady, who is set to sign for Norwich City.

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Boss Steve Bruce has also snapped up free agent full back Ryan Taylor, who he coached when the pair were at Wigan Athletic, after being released by Newcastle United following injury-hit years at St James’ Park. This too may be a move to cover a likely departure with West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City reportedly after Egypt international Ahmed Elmohamady.

Not only are Hull’s wide options set to be decimated by such sales, but star centre back James Chester has flown back from the club’s pre-season tour for talks with West Bromwich Albion. Coral football experts recently suggested the Wales international would be a good fit to relieve ageing defensive legs at The Hawthorns.

What is troubling for Bruce is his replacements for rumoured exits looming on the horizon both have something to prove. Clucas has never played at Championship level before, and while Taylor did bounce straight back into the top flight during his time at St James’ Park he’s seldom been fit since.

The Tigers have also found transfer activity to be slow going this summer. Clucas and Taylor are their first captures in the last week of July, yet promotion rivals Brentford, Derby County and Middlesbrough, plus fellow relegated sides Burnley and QPR have concluded early business on different scales.

Being last to the table has not enhance Hull’s prospects, and now the possibility of an August exodus looms large before the transfer window slams shut on September 1st. Their 5/2 price for promotion and 9/1 odds to take the Championship title thus leave a lot to be desired at this stage of the summer.