DEFENDER Curtis Davies admits the quartet of Hull City players returning to Tottenham Hotspur tonight must channel any eagerness to impress against their former club in a positive manner.
The Tigers head to North London looking to end a five-game losing run on the road.
It will be tough, Mauricio Pochettino’s men having lost just once in 15 league games at White Hart Lane over the past 11 months, and even then that came late last season amid the dejection of missing out on the title to Leicester City.
Ryan Mason makes his first return since becoming Hull’s record £13m signing last August and the midfielder is hoping to join fellow former Spurs trio Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone in the starting line-up.
“It will be interesting for Ryan Mason,” said Davies, no stranger to taking on former clubs over the years. “He had been there since he was 10 years old or something like that. Him going back will be weird, due to being in a different changing room and a different kit.
“But the other lads have got over their time there and see it as Hull players going back. It can be emotional, but you are there to get a result and do the best for your team.
“Hopefully, the emotions can be better for you because want to get over your old team. There isn’t more pressure going back to an old club, not in my case.
“You do, though, have it in the back of your head that you want to do well against your old club, regardless of whether things ended on good or bad terms. You just want to do well.
“But you have to strike a balance of playing your normal game but trying to use it as a driving force – not charge all over the pitch, doing something you wouldn’t normally do just to try and get a few plaudits.”
Hull face back-to-back trips to the capital this week, West Ham United and the top flight’s newest venue laying in wait this Saturday. Mike Phelan’s men need to start collecting points on the road to go with the five taken from their last three outings at the KCOM Stadium, but Davies admits it will be hard against a Spurs side featuring a striker who he considers a rare talent.
“Harry Kane is, right now, the best English striker,” said the 31-year-old. “(Daniel) Sturridge is, I believe, our most all-round striker if he keeps fit. He is the one that can do something from nothing. But, right now, Kane is just at a different level. A natural goalscorer, who can play the target man.
“We will be in for a busy night because he isn’t like a Jermain Defoe, who is one of the best but more a poacher. Anywhere outside the box, you are not too worried about Defoe. But Harry, because he is physical and strong, you have to worry about him all over the pitch.”
Tonight will be Hull’s first game since the storm of criticism that engulfed Robert Snodgrass following his controversial penalty against Crystal Palace when the Scot went down despite no contact from defender Scott Dann.
There have been suggestions that Hull’s top scorer could find it difficult to win spot-kicks in the future due to referees being wary but Mike Phelan expects the officials to be professional.
“He will be judged now, of course,” added the Hull head coach. “Robert is not daft and knows he will be under the spotlight for a little while. But he is not the only one this has happened to. And he probably won’t be the last.
“That is where we should leave it now and let Robert get on with his football.
“He has serious quality and let’s not punish someone simply because of one incident.”
Last six games: Tottenham Hotspur WLLWWL Hull City WLDDLD
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).
Last time: Tottenham Hotspur 2, Hull City 0; May 16, 2015; Premier League.