Why Hull’s new strikeforce will be worth the £13 million paid
Having seen their side shoot into the Premier League’s top ten with little help from their forward contingent, Hull fans should temporarily cease hostilities with Assem Allam to thank their chairman for opening his cheque book.
Shane Long’s signature is in the bag, with around £7m thrown at West Brom for the Irishman’s services and Nikica Jelavic could make his first appearance under new boss Steve Bruce against Norwich, after joining in a deal thought to be worth north of £6m to old club Everton.
That spells bad news for Chris Hughton’s beleaguered Canaries, who Hull are 21/10 to beat for the third time in their last five meetings, of which Norwich have won none.
The East Anglians last tasted victory in the Premier League seven matches ago and have been beaten in front of their own fans in two of their last three home games, which has seen Hughton come under ever increasing pressure.
Jelavic breathed life into Everton’s 2011/12 season after signing for the Merseysiders from Rangers two years ago.
The Croatian international is 2/1 to score against Norwich, as he did on his first start for Everton before going on to bag another eight in 10 run-outs during the second half of that campaign, which included three braces.
Everton climbed from 11th in the table, prior to Jelavic’s debut, to seventh place by the end of the season and there’s plenty of reasons to believe he can have the same impact on Humberside.
The 28-year-old had a poor 2013 in front of goal, but served notice of a return to form with two goals in his first start since September in the Toffeemen’s 4-0 FA Cup win against QPR.
He’ll get plenty of support up front from Long, who scored eight league goals and laid on four more for teammates last term when forming a potent partnership with 17-strike on-loan Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku.
Long has been more subdued this season since Lukaku swapped his temporary stay at the Hawthorns for a spell at Goodison Park, but West Brom’s clear attempts to cash-in on the Tipperary native during the summer cannot have helped his confidence.
His talents will be better appreciated by the KC Stadium faithful as strikers Danny Graham, Yannick Sagbo and Matty Fryatt had failed to bag a home goal between them until the latter scored against Fulham during the festive period.
With forward reinforcements now in situ, Bruce’s men look a big price to still be in the top ten by the season’s close at 9/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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