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Hull host Newcastle with Bruce’s boys needing points fast

Loyalty will go out of the window, when Steve Bruce welcomes fellow geordie and opposite number John Carver to the KC Stadium. With Hull City flirting with relegation, a point off safety, Newcastle United’s recently appointed permanent interim boss will be hoping to lift the club into the top half of the Premier League.

Earlier in the season, both teams played out a hard-fought 2-2 draw at St James’ Park, and customers can get odds of 18/1 with Coral of a repeat result this time around.

Nearly a year ago, Hull lost 4-1 to the Tyneside outfit to cancel out a 3-2 win earlier in the season, though on both occasions, Newcastle, 2/1 to beat Hull, had Loic Remy playing up front. The Frenchman netted in each game, though John Carver’s side have relied on Papiss Cisse for goals this term, with the Senegal striker scoring nine goals.

The Toon frontman bagged a brace in the draw earlier this season, and is 6/1 to break the deadlock. However, Cisse has been at the African Cup of Nations with his country, and it is reported that Newcastle and West Ham have split the cost of a private plane to bring him and Hammers’ midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate back to England.

“We have got together and we’re trying to put a plane on to bring them back,” Carver said. “The Senegal FA haven’t been too helpful and we’re not happy about that.

“But hopefully Papiss will be back on Friday, meet us at the hotel on Friday night and be involved at Hull on Saturday. Papiss is our top scorer and the only way you’re going to win matches is by having your top scorer around.”

Cisse is proving hard for the club to get hold of, though: “We’ve been trying to get in touch with him and it hasn’t been easy, but I’ve spoken to his agent and left a message with Papiss. Lee Charnley [Newcastle’s managing director] has spoken to the Senegalese FA but they haven’t been very helpful.”

Both clubs had a free week last time out, having been knocked out of the FA Cup, so it may come down to who has used their extra time the most effectively. Ayoze Perez, who has impressed for the Magpies this campaign, may have to be the difference if Newcastle are to come away with three points, and is 13/2 to open the scoring to add to his haul of five goals this term.

The Tigers have lost their last five in all competitions to nil, and haven’t scored since beating Sunderland 3-1 on Boxing Day. Bruce may be blessed with the luxury of having Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez available after injury, though the duo face late fitness tests.

Otherwise, Sone Aluko at 2/1 to net anytime and Thomas Ince, who has impressed recently could be the Tigers’ best chance of scoring, with the former Blackpool winger 11/4 in the same market.