>The presence of youth naturally encourages optimism but the concerns about Hull linger. Many believe Hull do not have enough to compete at the top end of the division and the divide between fans and owners remains vast.
Adkins knows victories will help change that mood and he will be banking on a positive first month to get the season rolling. Easier games lie in wait, such as Blackburn and Rotherham, but this might be a good time to face Villa and former boss Steve Bruce.
Keeping starman Jack Grealish will give Villa every chance of challenging again but the lack of direction that has been evident throughout most of the close-season has made life difficult. Bruce knows he will have to deliver promotion or risk inviting doubts that previously had Thierry Henry linked with the Villa post last month.
Hull v Aston Villa Team News
Nigel Adkins could hand out as many as five debuts as Hull City begin their new Championship season at home to Aston Villa.
Close-season signings Jordy de Wijs (pictured), Reece Burke, Todd Kane, Eric Lichaj and David Milinkovic are all hopeful of starting in a side that promises to carry little resemblance to the one that finished last term away to Brentford three months ago. George Long, another summer recruit, is likely to be on the bench.
Adkins has decisions to make in central defence if Angus MacDonald is considered to be fully recovered from a dislocated shoulder.
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce expects to call upon Jonathan Kodjia (pictured) to spearhead his attack when they travel to the KCOM Stadium tonight.
Kodjia endured an injury-hit campaign, scoring just one goal in all of last season before returning for the closing weeks.
A full pre-season has since helped the £11m man get back up to full speed and Bruce is confident the striker’s injury worries are a thing of the past.
Kodjia’s fitness is vital given the lack of alternative options. Scott Hogan, Keinan Davis and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy are all expected to miss out, meaning teenage striker Harvey Knibbs could be included in the squad.
Hull City v Aston Villa Betting Tips
A tough fixture to call for the bookmakers. Hull City have the slightly shorter odds, largely available at 21/10, but Aston Villa (7/5 with Betbright) are not too far behind. The floating punter might be best attracted by the draw after these two clubs twice shared the spoils last season.
The 9/4 offered up by Betbright has some value, as does the 1-1 draw at 5/1 for a repeat of last term’s opening game at Villa Park. Villa striker Jonathan Kodija leads the first goalscorer market at 11/2, with Fraizer Campbell installed as Hull City’s shortest price option at 13/2.
Hull Vs Aston Villa Stats
- Hull have won one of their last 14 games against Aston Villa in all competitions (D3 L10), a 2-0 home win in February 2015.
- Aston Villa are winless in their last three away league visits to Hull (D2 L1), failing to score despite attempting 40 shots across those three matches.
- Hull and Aston Villa also met on the opening day last season, sharing a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
- Outside the top-flight, current Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has won four of his last five opening day matches (D1), last losing in 2000-01 against Watford as Huddersfield Town manager.
- Hull are playing their first match of the season on a Monday for the first time since a 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient in September 1907, while Aston Villa kick the season off on a Monday for the first time since September 1913.
- The losing play-off finalists from the previous season’s Championship final have only lost on the opening day of the next season in one of the last 10 seasons – but that occurred last season, when Reading lost 2-0 to QPR.
Prediction For Hull v Aston Villa
As mentioned, it’s a difficult one to call. The stats point to a close affair with both teams not scoring an awful lot of late. Aston Villa to win to nil is 3/1 with Betbright and with Grealish still a Villa player, I feel his influence may give Villa a scrappy, yet important, away win.
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