OCCUPYING their lowest league position for more than a decade, Hull City are a club badly in need of a lift.
Nigel Adkins, just a month into his reign as head coach, knows that better than most and he sees today’s FA Cup third-round clash with Blackburn Rovers as the ideal opportunity.
“A victory can re-energise a squad,” said the Tigers’ chief, whose side have taken just two points from five games since beating Brentford in his first game at the helm.
“The performances have been very good, but we actually want to win a game. That can instil confidence for us to keep building.”
Hull slipped to 21st and just two points off the foot of the Championship table over the festive season, their lowest standing since pipping Leeds United to safety during the 2006-07 run-in.
The East Riding club’s next two fixtures once the league resumes are huge, a home game with fellow strugglers Reading a week today being followed by a trip to bottom club Sunderland.
The performances have been very good but we actually want to win a game. That can instil confidence for us to keep building.Hull City boss, Nigel Adkins
With two such potentially season-defining fixtures looming today’s Cup assignment at League One Blackburn Rovers could be viewed as something of a distraction. Adkins, however, does not agree.
“It is important that we respect the FA Cup and respect our supporters who will want to see their team have a go,” he said. “It is the FA Cup, it is not a distraction.
“We have been here for just short of four weeks so it is the next game for us to keep building on and the next opportunity to instil how we want to go and play.
“It is also the next opportunity to try and go and win a game of football. That is important. After that we will concentrate on the next league game.
“Like everyone, the league is the priority. But so is the beauty of the FA Cup.”
Hull, beaten finalists in 2014, are likely to make several changes from the side that was defeated 1-0 at Bolton Wanderers on New Year’s Day.
Adkins added: “It is taken for granted now that there will be changes, especially in the early rounds of the FA Cup. Players have been carrying niggles so this is an opportunity for one or two to recover. Otherwise you risk losing them for longer.
“Blackburn’s priority is getting back to the Championship at the first attempt. Anyone challenging for promotion, a lot of them don’t have long cup runs because it is extra games.
“It is fair to say the majority of teams will make changes for the right reasons.”