Tigers hoping home crowd can roar them into Europa Leage group stage
Hull City, odds-on at 1/2 to beat Lokeren in their Europa League play-off second leg in 90 minutes, could make quite a few changes from the first installment, as Steve Bruce seeks to select a starting IX capable of overturning a 1-0 deficit. Their opposition are 6/1 to upset the odds with a win on Humberside.
“I’ve said for a long time that it is important that we keep a bit of freshness about us,” said Bruce. “Even after playing in Europe and going down to ten men, there was enough about us on Sunday to get a result.
“We know that getting through to the group stages of this competition would be terrific for the club and we also know about what comes with that,” Bruce continued, who won the European Cup Winners Cup with Manchester Uinted as a player.
“We’ll be going all out to try and get a result tonight. Of course, I have to think about the Premier League too, but as I keep saying to people, the squad that got us to the FA Cup Final last season was largely rotated.
“We’ve got a squad in depth which I’m very comfortable with. We made wholesale changes in Belgium last week. There won’t be as many tonight, but we’ll certainly make a few.”
Centre forward Nikica Jelavic could be in line for a start after netting against Stoke City last time out, and is 9/2 to open the scoring. It was quite a toothless showing from the Tigers in Belgium prior to that; though, they did field a second-string side, with Tom Huddlestone perhaps the only consistent first team starter.
Sone Aluku and Ahmed El-Mohamady both scored in the last round, and are 5/4 and 6/1 respectively to net at anytime, while James Chester, whose ban doesn’t come into affect until the match against Aston Villa could also be selected. The defender netted in Hull’s first Premier League match of the season, and is 28/1 to get on the scoresheet first.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who gifted Lokeren their aggregate lead, scuffing his clearance to Hans Vanaken, is also likely to start and will be looking to put in a much-improved performance in front of what should be capacity crowd at the KC Stadium.
Vanaken is 11/4 to notch at anytime for the away side, who are widely expected to name an unchanged squad. Lokeren have had a respectable start to their domestic season in the Belgian league, currently lying in seventh place with as many points from five matches.