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Snodgrass sidelining hampers Hull hopes on all fronts

Hull City’s challenge to stay in the Premier League and enjoy a European adventure have been hit by the news that £7m summer signing, and Scotland winger, Robert Snodgrass is out for six months with a dislocated kneecap.

The Tigers are now 9/2 chances with Coral to be relegated in the second season of their latest stint in England’s top-flight. Manager Steve Bruce has made no bones about how this effects his team’s chances.

“We spent a lot of money adding to our midfield area and now we’ve lost Snodgrass for the best part of the season,” he said. “It’s a tragedy for him and for us. It’s a huge blow. He was brought in to bring that little bit of quality to the midfield area.”

It’s not just Hull who have losing out on Snodgrass’ qualities either. He will now miss Scotland’s first four Euro 2016 qualifiers, giving Gordon Strachan something of a headache. Tartan Army supporters may feel more confident of making the finals in France, as the tournament will include 24 teams, but Snodgrass has made key recent contributions for his country.

Although they failed miserably in their attempts to reach the World Cup in Brazil, Snodgrass scored both home and away in wins over Croatia. Scotland, having faced them and Belgium in that qualifying pool, must now contend with trips to reigning world champions Germany and Poland without one of their most influential players.

Strachan thankfully has more winnable games at home to Georgia and the Republic of Ireland following these tough assignments, but the likes of Ikechi Anya, Chris Burke and young James Forrest will have to step up in Snodgrass’ absence. He should return for his country in time to face Gibraltar on March 29th.

Hull have more convincing wide cover than Scotland, with Tom Ince, Robbie Brady and compatriot George Boyd all competing for spots. Egypt right wing back Ahmed Elmohamady could also be deployed further forward.

Alternatively, Bruce may instead keep faith with the 3-5-2 formation he used to great effect in last season’s FA Cup run, but that is entirely dependent on securing a replacing for Shane Long, who the Tigers sold for £12m to Southampton.

It’s still 80/1 that Hull can go all the way in the Europa League, and sensationally qualify for next season’s Champions League. Up next for them in the play-offs are Belgian top-flight team Lokeren. A strong odds-on 1/8 price suggests the Tigers will have enough teeth to avoid the drop but, without another attacking signing, that is very short indeed.