Hull could have former England manager Steve McClaren to thank if Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink proves a huge success at the KC Stadium.

The Dutch striker, who left Celtic at the end of last season, joined Hull on a free transfer earlier this month after spending the summer training with McClaren's FC Twente. Vennegoor of Hesselink began his career with the Enschede club and spoke with McClaren, who played for the Tigers in the early 1980s, before agreeing the move.

The 30-year-old said: "I spoke with Mr McClaren because he was also a player here and he liked it here very much. He said good things about the club."

Vennegoor of Hesselink, who is hoping to win a Holland recall in time for next summer's World Cup, is pushing for his first Barclays Premier League start against Birmingham on Saturday. The former PSV Eindhoven star featured as a substitute in last week's 4-1 defeat at Sunderland.

"I wanted to have a challenge and still had an ambition to prove myself," he said. "I waited long enough and a great thing came along.

"I wanted to prove myself at the highest level and I can do that at this club. Fitness-wise there is nothing wrong with me and I am ready to go. It has been long enough since I played an official game. With the result last week, this is an important game."

While Vennegoor of Hesselink could reshape the attack for the encounter at the KC Stadium, manager Phil Brown will also want to see more defensive resolve.

City were well placed at 1-1 after 45 minutes at the Stadium of Light but then capitulated alarmingly after the break. The sale of Michael Turner has left an obvious void and with Anthony Gardner still troubled by a knee injury, Kamil Zayatte is again likely to be partnered by loan signing Ibrahima Sonko.

Brown said: "You can slaughter individuals, you can slaughter the back four because they are the ones that take the blame.

"But there is a collective mentality - it is 11 defenders when you haven't got the ball and 11 attackers when you have. I've just got to try to put that right, help them on the training ground and hopefully they will carry that across the white line."

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