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Premier League

  • May 11, 2014
  • • 22:00
  • • Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 24848

Hull City - Everton Preview: Tigers hoping for timely boost ahead of FA Cup final

Hull City - Everton Preview: Tigers hoping for timely boost ahead of FA Cup final

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Steve Bruce's side face Arsenal at Wembley on May 17 and the former Manchester United defender could shuffle his pack against the Toffees, who cannot break into the top four

Hull City manager Steve Bruce could shuffle his pack for their Premier League clash with Everton just six days before the FA Cup final.

The battle for a place in Bruce's line-up when the Tigers chase the first major honour in the club's history against Arsenal at Wembley is sure to be intense and the final top-flight clash of the season on Sunday will provide another opportunity to stake a claim.

Striker Matty Fryatt did himself no harm in coming off the bench to net a splendid goal against Manchester United in midweek and a number of Bruce's squad advanced their cases, despite a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in their penultimate league match.

14/1 Hull City are 14/1 with Bet365 to beat Everton 1-0 on Sunday
Hull are winless in four matches since their FA Cup semi-final triumph over Sheffield United and have only scraped together two victories in their last 10 league attempts.

Bruce's men can reflect on a satisfying first season back in the top flight, though, and a positive result on Sunday would not go amiss heading into the final.

Everton had been in contention for a Champions League spot for much of the season but Roberto Martinez's men head to the KC Stadium to contest what is effectively a dead rubber.

A stirring 3-0 Goodison Park victory over Arsenal in April put the Merseyside club in the driving seat to secure fourth place and an elusive Champions League place.

But their 3-2 home loss to title-chasing Manchester City last time out was a third defeat in four matches for Everton and it ensured that Arsenal retained their place at European football’s top table, with the Merseyside club set to finish fifth.

The recent slump should not be allowed to take the gloss off a fine first season at the helm for Martinez, whose midfield options could be boosted by the return of knee-injury victim Steven Pienaar.

The South Africa international has not played since March's FA Cup loss to Arsenal, while Darron Gibson - sidelined for eight months following cruciate knee ligament surgery - is also back in training.

"Steven has been working with the team and that is very positive," Martinez told the club's official website. "We will assess him before Sunday to see whether he can play a part or not.

"Darron Gibson has been working with the team as well. That is really good timing because he has been able to finish the season strong from his point of view. I don't know if Darron will make it in time to be involved with the squad but it is a positive sign nonetheless."

Hull could be boosted by the return of Paul McShane, who is set for some pre-Wembley game time having suffered an ankle problem in late February. Fellow defender James Chester (hamstring) and forward Sone Aluko (ankle) miss out and face an anxious battle to be fit for the cup final.

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