October 02, 2014

Hull City will be searching out their first win since opening day when they welcome Crystal Palace to the KC on Saturday.

Steve Bruce's Hull (1-3-2) beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 to kick-start their campaign, but have failed to win a league game since. However, it's not all doom and gloom on Humberside. Draws against Stoke, Newcastle and West Ham showed some promise for the new-look Tigers - who made a raft of signings in an impressive summer transfer window - and they continued to show spark in last weekend's 4-2 defeat against champions Manchester City, suggesting they could be in line to improve on their impressive return to the top-flight last season.

Under the guidance of the experienced Bruce, Hull gained unexpected automatic promotion from the Championship in 2013 and proceeded to rack up their best Premier League points tally - avoiding relegation by four points. The Tigers also reached the final of the FA Cup and subsequent qualifying for European football for the first time in the club's history.

"I thought Steve Bruce was head and shoulders the best manager around (last season)," enthused Crystal Palace Neil Warnock, ahead of his meeting with the former Manchester United centre-back. "To make a club like Hull very comfortable in the Premier League and to get to the FA Cup final - I thought that was fantastic. He's done an incredible job."

Hull will be without goalkeeper Allan McGregor for Palace's visit. The Scottish stopper will miss the upcoming international fixtures and the remainder of Hull's games in October due to a shoulder injury, but Bruce told reporters at his Thursday press conference the diagnosis could have been much worse.

"We're just delighted he doesn't need an operation, because we thought it might," said Bruce. "The specialist has said we need to rest him, and stop diving on it. Hopefully, in four to six weeks he'll be back to normal."

Palace (2-2-2) have a terrific record against the Tigers. They have not lost any of the last eight meetings, have never lost a top-flight meeting against Hull, and did the double over Bruce's side last season with two 1-0 wins.

Not only is their head-to-head record a strong source of encouragement, but Palace should be full of confidence after picking up their first two wins of the season in the last two fixtures - over Everton and Leicester.

"I'm very lucky because you couldn't ask for more effort and commitment," Warnock said of his players. "As a Palace fan that's the minimum you require - you want your players to sweat blood and that's what they're doing. The fans get behind the players because they know they're trying their hardest.

"It was a difficult start to the season but since then we've worked very hard and we're getting the rewards."

The Eagles have lost just two of their last 10 away games in the Premier League, and have scored seven times in three matches on the road this season - a mark bettered by only Chelsea and Manchester City. Hull are without a win in their last five at the KC and have conceded seven on their own turf since the start of the campaign - the second-worst defensive record in the division behind Everton.

Palace will hold a late fitness test for Stuart O'Keefe (ankle), while Hull are without Robert Snodgrass for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

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