Premier League 2016/17 preview: Hull City – Talk task to keep up the mood, and the club

With the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season less than two weeks away, Premier League correspondent Richard Jolly provides his previews for each club. Here he looks at Hull City.

Abel Hernandez's goals helped Hull City achieve promotion but he will need to fire again to give his club a chance of staying in the Premier League. Craig Brough / Reuters
Powered by automated translation

With the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season less than two weeks away, Premier League correspondent Richard Jolly provides his previews for each club. Here he looks at Hull City.

• More: See all of Richard's previews

Instead of a summer of celebration, one of increasing uncertainty. Hull City booked an immediate return to the Premier League, courtesy of Mohamed Diame’s spectacular play-off winner against Sheffield Wednesday, but the subsequent two months have amounted to an ever more frustrating time that culminated in Steve Bruce’s decision to resign, weeks before the start of the campaign, with no senior signings and only 13 fit players.

Takeover talks, which contributed to the problems, have been put on hold until September and Bruce’s successor Mike Phelan faces a tough task.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor will miss the start of the season and Michael Dawson is out for three months as injuries have hit hard. The only good news, perhaps, is that having retained much of their squad after relegation, they still have the spine of a Premier League side when all are fit.

A spine of McGregor, Dawson, Curtis Davies, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Diame and Abel Hernandez offers reassurance. Yet a lack of goals proved their undoing two seasons ago and they have fewer forwards now than then and without reinforcements, it would be a great achievement for Phelan to walk into the KC Stadium, change the mood at the club and keep Hull up.

• The National's Premier League section: All the latest from the Premier League, including news, interviews, features, and much more

Key Man: Abel Hernandez

The Uruguayan scored 20 goals in the Championship last season, but only four in the Premier League in the previous campaign. He has the ability to excel in the top flight; now Hull require proof of his quality.

Pivotal Signing: Jonathan Edwards

In the absence of anyone more prominent, the 19-year-old forward from Peterborough, who joined after a successful trial, is Hull’s biggest buy. He has promise, but that says something.

Point to Prove: Robert Snodgrass

The luckless Scotland winger seemed an ambitious buy by Hull two years ago. A knee injury limited him to a solitary Premier League appearance as they went down. Now, belatedly, he can show what he can do.

Crucial Factor: The next manager

Whoever he may be. He needs to make his mark quickly, both in terms of recruiting players and galvanising those Bruce signed. Get this appointment wrong and it is hard to see Hull surviving.

Predicted finish: 20th

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport