Hull City will look to take a massive step to securing their Premier League survival when they host already-relegated Sunderland at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Defeat against Bournemouth last weekend ended the visitor’s ten-year stay in the top-flight, and David Moyes’ side now have nothing to play for except pride when they take the trip to Hull.
The hosts, on the other hand, are desperate for points in their battle for survival and Marco Silva will know that victory over Sunderland will take his team to the brink of safety with two games left of the season.
After battling to a creditable away draw against Southampton last weekend, Hull will be looking to extend their impressive home record since Marco Silva’s arrival to eight victories in nine matches.
They’ll go into Saturday’s crunch clash on the back of four straight wins at the KCOM – including the prize scalps of Swansea and Middlesbrough – and confidence will be running high through the side.
By contrast Sunderland’s recent form has been woeful, winning just one game since the middle of December in a run that extends to 19 matches both home and away.
David Moyes’ side have also only found the back of the net eleven times during this time, and have lost eight of their last ten Premier League matches without scoring a goal.
The hosts look set to name an unchanged side for the third consecutive match after keeping Southampton at bay last weekend, with Ahmed Elmohamady set to continue in the Hull defence.
Forward Dieumerci Mbokani is pushing for a return to the starting eleven after training with the team this week, but it could be deemed too soon by Silva since his hamstring injury in February.
Sunderland’s quartet of Jason Denayer, Darren Gibson, Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell all missed the defeat against Bournemouth through injury but are in contention to return at the KCOM.
Match Prediction: Hull City 3-1 Sunderland
Hull will be looking to avenge a 3-0 defeat to Sunderland earlier in the season and will know that a win could extend the gap between them and Swansea to five points before they kick-off against Everton.
With their survival fate still in their own hands, the Tigers are facing Sunderland at exactly the right time just a week after their relegation was confirmed, with the Black Cats completely shot of confidence.
Sunderland’s woeful away form, which has seen them pick up just seven points on the road all season, combined with Hull’s immense home form under Marco Silva, lends itself towards one result.
Silva will instil the mentality into his side that Saturday’s match is essentially a cup final, and with momentum and form in Hull’s favour it’s hard to see anything other than a much-needed victory.