Jack Hobbs: Hull City can assert authority by delivering Boxing Day blow to Leicester City
JACK Hobbs is calling on Hull City to inflict a telling body blow to one of their most dangerous promotion rivals with victory over Leicester City today.
Second plays host to fifth this afternoon in a festive fixture of the highest stakes at the KC Stadium as both sides begin the second half of the Championship season chasing a return to the Premier League.
Four consecutive wins in December have helped City to leap-frog former boss Nigel Pearson's side and a fifth straight victory would see a 10-point gap opened up.
A belated Christmas gift of three points would be extra special to Hobbs after serving Leicester with distinction between 2008 and 2011.
Our transparent fixed sales fees set us aside from the competition, offering full Estate Agency Service for a fixed fee regardless of the value of your home.
Contact: 01482 423365
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
And the fit-again defender says adding to the daylight currently between his past and present clubs would provide a huge boost to City's hopes of reaching the top-flight under manager Steve Bruce.
"It's going to be a tough game and a big game," said Hobbs.
"There's obviously the added spice of Nigel coming back with Leicester, and having spent a few years there myself, it'll be a big game for me.
"It's a great Boxing Day fixture for everyone and it's one we'll be going into full of confidence. Getting the better of the teams in and around you is very important and if we can get the three points, the gap between us and them will grow. So it's a big game in quite a few senses.
"They've got some quality players, highlighted by the fact they've spent a lot of money over the last couple of years. We know they'll have their strengths but it's up to us to try and nullify them."
City will be wary of Leicester's threat after being soundly beaten when the two sides met at the King Power Stadium in September.
A 3-1 victory was a feather in the cap of Pearson as he won the tactical battle against Bruce, and a win today would complete Leicester's first double over the Tigers since 1950-51.
Hobbs was denied a reunion with his former employers when missing the Autumn fixture with knee ligament damage, but he is expected to retain his place for today's clash at the KC.
Since making his first-team return as a substitute in the 2-1 win at Watford 18 days ago, the 24-year-old has effortlessly slid back into the City side with composed performances against Huddersfield Town and Derby County.
Hobbs' encouraging comeback has helped ease the pain of spending eight months on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery and sharpened the centre-back's appreciation ahead of another promotion bid.
"It's great, it's absolutely fantastic," he said.
"You don't realise how much you'd miss it until you haven't got it.
"It's just great to be out there playing football with the lads again. It sounds simple but just being able to go out there and ping a ball around is so enjoyable.
"People have had worse injuries than me so to deal with it can be tough, but all the hard work is worth it when you come back and play in a side like this. You take it for granted at times, or at least I probably did.
"It's when you have it taken away you begin to realise how fortunate you are to be out there playing football. Being a professional footballer is incredible and I'm very grateful."
Victory for the Tigers this afternoon would see them celebrate their longest winning sequence since March 2005, when Peter Taylor's men marched towards promotion out of League One.