West Ham United-Hull City Preview
Steve Bruce's preparations for Hull City's home match against West Ham United on Monday evening have been disrupted by renewed speculation regarding the long-time future of the club.
Hull owner Assem Allam revealed at a press conference Thursday that the club is for sale as he continues to campaign for a change of name to Hull Tigers.
The Football Association turned down the Yorkshire club's application to change its name in April, but Allam confirmed he lodged an appeal against the FA's decision via arbitration. The 75-year-old Allam says he will leave the KC Stadium if he is unable to rebrand the team globally as the Hull Tigers.
Hull boss Bruce, however, remains optimistic Allam will keep hold of the club.
"I think there will be a positive outcome," said Bruce. "That means he will stay and he will win his case. I genuinely believe that will be the case.
"Those are my thoughts. We have seen change before. One club (Wimbledon) went from London to Milton Keynes. Arsenal left Highbury...I never thought that would have happened back in the day. Or Manchester City leaving Maine Road. The fans even sang 'Maine Road till we die'. But they moved into a nice new stadium and everyone forgot about it."
On the field Hull (1-1-1) have made reasonable start to the season with four points, although they did lose 2-1 at Aston Villa just before the international break.
Bruce has been able to strengthen his squad with some high-profile signings during the summer transfer window. Hull acquired Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez from Palermo for a club-record 10 million pound fee, as well as midfielders Mohamed Diame from West Ham and Gaston Ramirez from Southampton plus defender Michael Dawson from Tottenham. Playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa also joined on a season-long loan from Newcastle.
West Ham (1-0-2) are hoping to give debuts to new midfielders Alex Song and Morgan Amalfitano. Former Arsenal player Song moved to Upton Park from Barcelona on a season-long loan, while France international Amalfitano joined the Hammers from Marseille on a one-year deal. Both players completed their moves on transfer deadline day.
Former Lazio and Inter Milan player Mauro Zarate, who moved to the Boleyn Ground from Argentinian club Velez Sarsfield earlier in the summer, has settled in well in east London. He opened his West Ham account with a stunning volley in the 3-1 win at Crystal Palace on Aug. 23, and is looking forward with confidence to the match against to Hull.
"Yes, I am very excited. It is a hard match, as they have new players who are very technical." Zarate told his club's official website. "We have to work hard and play well, and if we do we will win the match."
West Ham's next home match is against Liverpool, but Zarate is keen to concentrate on the trip to Hull.
"Liverpool at home is a very big match and I am looking forward to it, but first we have to think about the Hull match and after that we'll focus on Liverpool."
Hull will have central defender James Chester available again after suspension, while left back Andrew Robertson is doubtful with a calf injury.
West Ham defender James Collins has recovered from a hamstring problem, but striker Andy Carroll (ankle) and midfielder Kevin Nolan (shoulder) remain sidelined.
Both sides won at home last season, with Hull earning a 1-0 victory at the KC Stadium in September and the Hammers winning 2-1 at Upton Park in March.