Throughout the second half of the 2018/19 season, millwallfc.co.uk will be analysing The Lions' opponents by taking a look back at their campaign so far. As we prepare to make the trip to take on Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, we look at The Tigers’ recent results.
Hull City looked towards the 2018/19 campaign – Nigel Adkins’ first full season at the helm – with hopes for a strong improvement, having finished an uninspiring 19th last term. The Tigers’ habit of competing in thrilling, open games meant they had both scored and conceded 70 goals throughout the season, scoring more than promoted Cardiff City but concurrently shipping just two less than relegated Barnsley. A significant overhaul took place on Humberside over the summer, with the club bringing in talent such as Reece Burke, Eric Lichaj, Todd Kane, David Milinkovic and Chris Martin; letting go of players including Michael Dawson, Moses Odubajo, Seb Larsson, Abel Hernandez and Allan McGregor. A pre-season camp in Portugal saw Hull beat Maritimo and lose to Braga, before a defeat at Rochdale, draws with Newcastle United and Barnsley, and a win at local neighbours North Ferriby United.
The Sky Bet Championship got underway in early August with Hull pitted against last year’s Play-Off Finalists Aston Villa at the KCOM. After The Tigers opened the scoring early on, Villa recovered to take the three points with a 3-1 defeat for Adkins’ men. Two straight trips to Sheffield followed, and two 1-1 draws as Hull took their first League point from Hillsborough before eliminating Sheffield United from the Carabao Cup on penalties at Bramall Lane. A home defeat to Blackburn and a first away win at Rotherham continued the mixed form, before The Tigers were humbled 4-0 at home by Derby in the Carabao Cup Second Round to sign off August on a sour note.
Entering September in their final position from last season of 19th, Hull sought an improved run during the month. However, a second home defeat to Derby in four days – this time in the League – along with losses on the road at Reading and Wigan Athletic continued the frustration for Hull fans as far as on-pitch matters were concerned. Sandwiched between however was a 2-0 home victory over Ipswich Town, with the month rounded off by a creditable 1-1 share of the spoils against Middlesbrough.
October was already beginning to become a crucial month for City to pick up form in the Championship. The Tigers however remained in a struggling position and successive 1-0 defeats to Leeds and Sheffield United left the side rock-bottom of the table going into the second international break of the season. Whilst a 1-1 draw at home to Preston lifted Adkins’ side from the bottom of the pile, they then suffered another narrow defeat – this time against Play-Off hunting Bristol City. The end of October was then to be a new dawn for Hull, who would go on to lose one of their next 14 League fixtures. The month ended with a 1-0 away victory at Bolton Wanderers to kickstart the impressive run of form.
Starting November in 23rd position, Championship sides had just 12 points to play for over the course of the month. A win and clean sheet over prolific recent scorers West Brom raised spirits on Humberside, before Adkins’ side came from two down at Birmingham City to take a 3-2 lead, eventually forced to settle for a 3-3 draw. A 2-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest then proved to be the last Tigers loss for over two months, with the month ending in a stalemate against promotion hopefuls Norwich to move closer to exiting the relegation zone.
A demanding December saw six fixtures take place in the Championship, as the season approached its Christmas peak. Hull were embarking on an inspired run, taking 16 points from a possible 18 – only Neil Harris’ Millwall were able to take anything from facing the division’s new form side. A 3-2 victory at QPR kicked things off for Hull for the month, before a second successive London visit brought Adkins’ team into The Lions’ Den. Kamil Grosicki’s early strike gave Hull the advantage, before Lee Gregory and Aiden O’Brien turned the game on its head either side of half-time. Tigers captain Markus Henriksen brought the visitors back level for a share of the points. A run of six straight League wins then began through the turn of the year, with home victories over Brentford (2-0) and Swansea (3-2) were followed up by an away double over Preston (2-1) and Premier League chasers Leeds (2-0). By the time 2019 swung around, Hull had risen eight places to 14th.
With Hull in blistering form, The Tigers continued their ruthless streak into the New Year with a 6-0 demolition of Bolton at the KCOM, in which the side netted five goals within 21 second-half minutes. Attentions then turned to the Emirates FA Cup, with Hull drawn to make another visit to The Den in the Third Round. Perhaps against the odds in the eyes of the travelling support, The Lions again put a dent in Hull’s winning run and this time went one better to come out on top through a stunning late double from substitute Shane Ferguson, cancelling out Jon Toral’s opener. An advantage for Adkins was the added focus on maintaining League form, and Hull did just that with a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. The side then let slip a two-goal lead at Villa Park as Aston Villa clawed back for a 2-2 draw in the next League fixture, before a humbling 3-0 defeat at Blackburn represented the club’s first blank since November. Transfer activity was fairly minimal during January for Hull, who brought in Liam Ridgewell and Marc Pugh, allowing Will Keane to move to Ipswich on a loan deal.
Despite peaking at a season-high eighth during January, this month has seen Hull move backwards somewhat to their previous struggle for consistency, although the club are still able to look up the table rather than over their shoulders. A professional 2-0 victory over a talented Stoke City outfit kicked off proceedings in February, although a defeat at Derby and a 2-2 home draw with Rotherham – followed by a 5-1 loss at Brentford – have seen the side slip to 13th ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting.