Championship Preview: In-form Hull City celebrate 10 years at the KC Stadium

The Tigers have stormed up the league in recent weeks and now sit in the top two but will face a tough examination from former manager Nigel Pearson and his Leicester side
The KC Stadium has pretty much seen it all in its decade as the home of Hull City including four promotions, a relegation and two memorable, but ultimately disastrous, seasons in the Premier League.

Exactly 10 years after a 2-0 win against Hartlepool christened the 25,400-seater arena, Leicester City roll into town to ensure that the party atmosphere will be as muted as possible in a tough promotion clash.


Nottm Forest
Bristol City
Hull City

Sheff Wed
Cystal Palace
Brighton and Millwall's clash, originally scheduled for Boxing Day, was played on December 18, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
The Tigers were 33/1 with bookmakers to win the league at the start of the season, but are currently sitting pretty in second place, level on points with Cardiff, after a four-game winning streak but manager Steve Bruce is remaining calm.

"It's nice and it gives us a bit of a lift. I feel as though we're still going under the radar and that's the way I've wanted it all along," Bruce told the Hull Daily Mail.

"But we've given ourselves a chance. That's all it is because we're only halfway there, but it's a great chance.

"I don't feel as though it's a fluke that we're joint-top of the league. The question is whether or not we can sustain it over the winter and mount a challenge all the way through."

Nigel Pearson managed Hull following their relegation from the Premier League and steered the club through tough times financially, almost securing a play-off spot in 2010 before leaving for a second crack at the Leicester job the next season.

The Foxes have won just three of their last 11 games, slipping from contention for the automatic promotion spots, but the 49-year-old believes his side are on the right track to regain their form.

"I just thought if we kept doing the right things often enough it would turn for us," he told the club's official website.

"We've not been totally dominated this season, the games we play in are generally tight.

"Unfortunately for us, at the moment we're not quite managing to turn those situations into wins, but we'll turn that around."

Leicester were beaten 1-0 at home by top-of-the-table Cardiff at the weekend who host third-placed Crystal Palace, in perhaps the most enticing Championship fixture of the day.

The game could well have been between the league's top two teams had Palace beaten Huddersfield on Saturday evening, however, they were held to a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield, playing 80 minutes of the game with 10 men after Damien Delaney's early dismissal.

The experienced Welshman has had a stop-start season after returning to his home-town club in the summer due to injuries, but has hit form of late with two goals in his last three games, including the crucial winner at Leicester on Saturday.
The Hull City skipper is another who has had his season interrupted by injury. The former Liverpool defender has featured in the Tigers' last three games after spending nine months on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury. His return has coincided with a winning run that has seen the side move into the top two.
Birmingham's side at the weekend contained seven teenagers and Redmond's superior experience compared to his team-mates, despite still being just 18 himself, will be vital as Lee Clark looks to steer his club away from the drop zone. Must start scoring soon, though, as he is yet to strike this season.
After the game Ian Holloway admitted the adversity was a good examination of his side and he is

He said: "In recent weeks we've had some things completely trot our way so I was waiting for things to go slightly against us to see my lads' reaction.

"All I can say is I'm absolutely delighted. We don't know enough tactically yet, we're a bit naive at times as a group.

"We had a man short but we wouldn't have known it at times. Happy days, let's bring on the rest of the season."

The Bluebirds have topped the table more often than any other side this season and boss Malky Mackay believes they have been spurred on to greater things by last season's defeat in the play-offs to West Ham.

He told Sky Sports programme 'Goals on Sunday': "Personally it was disappointing, but we were asked to rebuild from the start of the season, we had 10 players.

"As the season went on, expectation levels grew and to manage to have a nice little run to get into the play-offs was something that wasn't really expected.

"We were beaten by a West Ham side that deserved to go up, but it meant that, come the summer, there was a bit more expectation, but also a confidence starting to build that we were going in the right direction, and that's helped us."

Two other teams that have topped the Championship this season, Middlesbrough and Blackburn, square off at the Riverside stadium on Wednesday, with Boro looking to maintain the pace at the top, and 17th-placed Rovers just trying to get back near the top six.

Henning Berg's side will come into the game well-rested after their home game against Brighton on Saturday was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Boro were beaten 2-1 at Leeds thanks to two goals from Luciano Becchio. Jason Steele and Marvin Emnes featured at Elland Road, despite suffering from a stomach bug that ruled Andre Bikey, Nicky Bailey and Ishmael miller out of the game.

However, the former club captain did not use that as an excuse, instead blaming a lack of clinical finishing on his side's narrow defeat.

He told the club's official website: "We've got a really good honest group of players and we've had to take it on the chin. It's hard for all Boro fans and the supporters who came but it didn't go in and sometimes you have to accept that in football.

"I'll tell them they have to perform like that every week and when the opportunities come the strikers have to take them.

"The chances didn't go in today, let's hope on another day they do."

At the foot of the table, Barnsley host Birmingham City, hoping to take advantage of a Blues side so ravaged by injury that Lee Clark named an incredible seven teenagers in his starting XI against Burnley on Saturday.

One of the club's few experienced figures Nikola Zigic hit a late goal to snatch a 2-2 draw and Lee Clark was able to see the funny side about his current predicament.

He joked: "I thought my nappy-changing days were over, but the young pups did not let me down.

"They've got the ability but they've also got the drive, ambition and rapport with the fans. It's important to interact with the supporters. That's one of the things I most enjoyed as a player."

Under-pressure Tykes boss Keith Hill saw his side grab a last-gasp winner against Millwall on Saturday, and has demanded a repeat performance as the south Yorkshire side look to scramble out of the relegation zone.

He told BBC Sport: "We've got a fighting spirit and there's a collective endeavour. But there's good footballers out on the pitch.

"If you're going to endure relegation, or if I'm going to lose my job, I want to make sure I'm doing it the right way."

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