After suffering relegation from the Premier League last season, Hull City have responded well and stand a great chance of securing automatic promotion back to England’s top flight at the first time of asking. Steve Bruce’s side are in great form and are jousting with the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, Middlesbrough and Derby County at the top of the Championship table. Although there is a long way to go, the Tigers have shown plenty of quality throughout the early stages of the campaign and will only improve further as the season goes on. They have a strong, deep squad and, with Bruce at the helm, Hull will surely fancy their chances of promotion this season.
More often than not, relegated sides tend to struggle on their return to the Championship. After a slow start, Hull picked up their form and have worked their way into a competitive position. However, they have lost two fixtures against Derby and Leeds United in recent weeks. Those are results that suggest cracks are beginning to show in Hull’s blueprint for an immediate return to the top flight.
Having said that, they remain just a few points off the top of the division and will be quietly confident of achieving their ultimate goal of automatic promotion. At the time of writing, the Tigers are 11/10 in the Championship betting to secure promotion, either via the playoffs or by finishing in the top two. Considering their vast array of talent in the squad, plenty of punters will be taking advantage of those odds in the coming weeks.
In fact, many believe that Hull do in fact possess the most talented and deepest roster in England’s second tier – and rightly so. They have plenty of talent in attack and are also sound defensively. After 19 matches, the Tigers have scored the third-highest amount of goals in the Championship and have allowed just 13 at the opposite end. If they continue to dominate matches and restrict opponents to half chances, they will win plenty of matches throughout the campaign.
The main threat to their promotion hopes is probably Middlesbrough. Over the last couple of years, Aitor Karanka’s men have shown enough to suggest that they could slog it out with England’s elite clubs on a regular basis and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Boro secure automatic promotion this campaign. In January, Middlesbrough earned a 2-0 victory at Manchester City in the FA Cup before returning to Manchester in October to dump Louis van Gaal’s United out of the Capital One Cup. While Brighton and Derby will be there or thereabouts, Boro have the stamina to mount a title challenge until the very end.
If anyone is going to stop Hull this season, it will be Boro. However, there are two automatic promotion places and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see both clubs advance back to the top flight. Bruce’s men are desperate for success this campaign and, with a bit of luck, they are more than capable of bouncing back at the first time of asking. Only time will tell but Hull look well set for a return to the Premier League next season.