In grim times, Middlesbrough – and their under-pressure manager – are likely to grasp onto any touch of solace that comes along.
One arrives in the shape of their resounding home form against their opponents from down the North Sea coast, with Hull without a league victory in 11 attempts since a 2-1 success at Boro’s former Ayresome Park home in March 1986, with Andy Flounders and Frankie Bunn netting for the Tigers.
Few can also deny that plenty has been riding on a number of Boro’s recent home meetings with Hull, with the three victories among a seven-match winning streak on home soil having proved particularly fateful.
A narrow 1-0 win at the business end of last season saw Boro maintain their play-off hopes, while an ultra-tense single-goal victory in March 2016 proved the catalyst for the Teessiders’ push for automatic promotion in Aitor Karanka’s first game back after briefly being placed on gardening leave after a bust-up with several players.
A 1-0 success in December of that year when both clubs were in the top-flight and ravenous for survival points was also a cherished one at the time for Boro, in grave need of another fillip tomorrow.
Woodgate, whose Boro side are without a league win in nine matches, with their last victory arriving back on September 14, said: “We have to start winning games and there is no getting away from that.
“The fans have been very patient with us so far, they have been really good and I cannot thank them enough for that.
“But I know we have to repay that patience by winning games and I would like to think the players know that too.
“We have to play better and win games to get more fans in the stadium. Starting with Hull.”