Preview of Hull City's festive fixtures, from Watford to Blackpool
Hull City face a tough programme of fixtures over the Christmas period. Here are brief previews of the next six games.
Saturday 8 December
Gianfranco Zola's men are the surprise package of the Championship season and they will host City this weekend as a top-six side after collecting 17 points from a possible 21. The run has propelled the Hornets dramatically up the table and begun talk of a promotion push that would have seemed absurd just two months ago. City will provide an acid test but Leicester were found wanting at Vicarage Road last month.
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Saturday 15 December
City's first fixture with Huddersfield in almost seven years promises to be a cracking Yorkshire derby at the KC. Having won promotion through the League One play-offs in May, the Terriers have shown few signs of inferiority and will provide a dogged opponent in 11 days. However, their current run of four games without a win is threatening to dent the West Yorkshire feel-good factor.
Derby County (A)
Friday 21 December
City will hit the halfway mark of the season with a trip to Pride Park and they will hope for a third consecutive away win over the Rams. Derby have struggled to contain the Tigers in recent years and Nigel Clough's men may need a lift. Just four points from the last five games has seen them fall into the bottom half of the table ahead of facing Leeds this weekend.
Leicester City (H)
Wednesday 26 December
Christmas hangovers will be blown out in an eagerly-anticipated Boxing Day encounter. As the table currently stands, it would see fifth-placed City playing host to third-placed Leicester and both sides have consistency to suggest they can be in the promotion shake-up. Nigel Pearson is unlikely to be given a warm welcome and the Tigers will look to make amends for a 3-1 loss at the King Power Stadium in September.
Leeds United (H)
Saturday 29 December
Not since 1987-88 have the Tigers recorded a league double over Leeds United but after the 3-2 win at Elland Road in September, that's what they will target in the final game of 2012. Leeds' visit suddenly looks a far tougher fixture than it did last month following a takeover-inspired run of three consecutive wins. Neil Warnock's men are back up to 11th and just four points off the top six before a pivotal January.
Tuesday 1 January
A new calendar year begins on the coast with City on a revenge mission against one of their promotion rivals. A 3-2 win at the KC saw Blackpool overturn a 2-1 deficit inside the last 19 minutes, but their fortunes have been on the slide since. With Michael Appleton replacing Ian Holloway, the Seasiders have only won two of 11 games to slip to 12th.