Preston North End v Hull City: Tigers motivated for big test says Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart: Ready for challenge.Kevin Stewart: Ready for challenge.
Kevin Stewart: Ready for challenge.
JUST a couple of months ago an away double-header at Preston and Leeds United would have been greeted with a fair degree of trepidation by Hull City.

A return of just four points from 18 available on the road at the start of 2018-19 pointed to a problematic season on the road for the Tigers, but some positive events since have inspired an upturn in confidence.

Improving Hull head to Deepdale today on the back of a four-match unbeaten away sequence stretching back to October 24 with eight points taken out of 12.

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A test against a Preston North End side unbeaten in their past six matches on home soil will be a probing one, but midfielder Kevin Stewart insists that Hull will not be cowed by the challenge.

Victory would see Hull leapfrog their 15th-placed rivals in the table and would serve as inspiration too.

Stewart said: “It is good motivation. We should go there full of confidence with the way we are doing. I think we will go there with high spirits.

“Maybe the away games do not affect us as much as before given the confidence we have. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

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Memories of events in the reverse fixture at the KCOM Stadium will also serve as motivation for the Tigers ahead of this latest Roses test according to manager Nigel Adkins.

He watched on as Hull were pegged back by a 90th-minute equaliser from Louis Moult in a 1-1 draw in East Yorkshire just over a couple of months ago, Preston scoring a decisive late goal against the Tigers for the second successive campaign.

Adkins added: “They are very strong and a good outfit, but we played them here and should have taken them to the cleaners.

“We did not and missed a lot of chances, so we know it will be a totally different game as they are very strong at home and competitive.

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“They have been on a great run of form themselves and we have to recover as best we can because physically we need to expend every amount of energy to give ourselves a chance against them and it is a recovery basis.”

Adkins says that he is likely to utilise his squad during a busy run of three matches in the space of six day with Eric Lichaj and Reece Burke among those back in his plans today.

He said: “They have every chance. Reece was in the squad on Saturday, he has obviously had a few days back with the main group. I am hoping Eric and Wil Keane will be back in the group.

“All being well, we have all the players coming back.”

Last six games: Preston North End WDLWWL Hull City LDWDWW.

Referee: S Duncan (Northumberland).

Last time: Preston North End 2 Hull City 1; February 3, 2018; Championship.