Hull City will look to continue their unbeaten start to the League One this Saturday when they travel to Northampton Town (KO 3pm).

Here’s our preview:

Opinion

Tuesday night’s trip to the London Stadium was the sideshow to the real focus this season, getting Hull City back into the Championship. What a sideshow it proved to be off the pitch with the three positive coronavirus tests at West Ham and the fallout which followed.

But now it’s back to the meat and drink of the season for Grant McCann and his men. Talk of a promotion push in the wake of relegation and the manner in which City fell apart last season may have been scoffed weeks ago.

Nobody is getting carried away now after two wins, including an attritional victory against newly promoted Crewe Alexandra last time out, but there’s an air of positivity starting to creep into the Tigers camp and a trip to Northampton Town provides an opportunity to build on that.

The acquisition of winger Hakeeb Adelakun from Bristol City adds further options to McCann’s armoury and given the quality on show from the two league games played so far this campaign, it appears at first glance that there is nothing to fear in a division which looks for the most part to be low on quality.

If last season taught us anything, it’s that how you start a season doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of baring in where you’ll finish come the conclusion. But for a club starved of positivity in recent months, putting together an unbeaten run in these embryonic weeks of the campaign will do wonders not just for confidence but the perception of the club inside and outside of the City boundary.

Hakeeb Adelakun in action for Bristol City

The Cobblers have made a good start to life in League One following their play-off final victory and will fancy their chances of halting the Tigers’ progress, but McCann will know if his side are to be real promotion contenders, picking up points on the road at places like Sixfields will go a long way to aiding that pursuit.

Prediction: Northampton 1-2 Hull City

Northampton team news

The Cobblers have already got a long injury list this early in the season, but manager Keith Curle is hopeful of welcoming a number of players back.

“We are in a difficult stage of the season where we are trying to get the players into that robust physical condition,” said Curle.

Northampton Town manager Keith Curle
Northampton Town manager Keith Curle

“We are going to get knocks and injuries but that’s why you have a squad and we showed on Saturday that we could still put out a competitive team.

“We are still looking to add to the squad and we are competing for the signatures of a couple of players who I think will add to the squad.

“It’s a bit of a domino effect and unfortunately we are just waiting for someone else to set off the chain.

“We are able to compete financially but again we only want the right characters who can fit in with the way we want to work.”

Hull City team news

McCann has almost a fully fit squad to choose from for the trip to Sixfields. Tom Eaves remains the only long term absentee following his injury in the opening game of the season at Sunderland in the Carabao Cup.

Eaves continues to make progress and should be fit for the start of next month, while captain Richie Smallwood is the only other potential doubt for this game after hobbling out of Tuesday night’s cup defeat at West Ham United.

Sebastian Haller of West Ham is put under pressure by Richard Smallwood of Hull City
Sebastian Haller of West Ham is put under pressure by Richard Smallwood of Hull City

Josh Emmanuel is expected to come back into the side at right back for Lewie Coyle, while McCann will need to assess the fitness of new arrival Hakeeb Adelakun before deciding if he takes his place on the bench.

Fellow new recruit Thomas Mayer could get a starting berth, with a decision over whether Mallik Wilks or Josh Magennis play through the middle up top.

The key battle: Sam Hoskins v Reece Burke

Well-travelled striker Sam Hoskins opened his goal scoring tally for the season last week at Shewsbury and will be all the better for it.

Having returned 12 goals last season to help the Cobblers win promotion, including a goal in the play-off final victory over Exeter, all eyes will be on Hoskins to play his part this year.

For Burke, the challenge will be to make sure Hoskins has an off day and the City defender will need to be physical and assert his presence early to keep the forward quiet.

Burke and defensive partner Jordy de Wijs have made a good start in the league after their struggles towards the end of last season as a partnership and they’ll want to reinforce their presence as a difficult duo to contend with this season.

Reece Burke of Hull City warms up before the Championship match at the DW Stadium, Wigan
Reece Burke of Hull City warms up before the Championship match at the DW Stadium, Wigan

Northampton overview

A first victory of the season last time out at Shrewsbury Town will have injected further confidence into a Cobblers side who began life back in League One with an opening day draw at home to AFC Wimbledon.

The match at Sixfields against Wimbledon was an entertaining affair with four goals and a host of chances, offering an indication we could be in for more of the same when City visit.

Keith Curle has done a good job since taking over two years ago and has put together a team that are difficult to play against.

It’s been done on a small budget with the use of free transfers and loans, but the addition of players such as defensive midfielder Christopher Missilou and centre-back Cian Bolger have added further experience.

The Hull players warm up before the Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium

Hull City are embarking on a new era in League One, with the side looking to find their feet once more.

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Betting

Grant McCann’s side start as favourites for victory at Sixfields, with The Pools offering 11/10 on Hull City making it three wins from three League One games this season.

The hosts are priced at 23/10 with 5/2 for a draw. City are yet to conceded a goal in the league this season so a price of 9/5 to keep another clean sheet is an attractive bet, while you can get 5/1 on there being over 2.5 goals in the match.

The Tigers to win the match and keep a clean sheet is 5/2, with the same bet on Northampton priced at 9/2.