Hull City v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sat 30 Jan 2010

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Hull talisman Jimmy Bullard will not return the crunch clash against Wolves but Amr Zaki is set for his Tigers debut.

Midfielder Bullard, out for almost two months with a knee injury, had hoped to feature before the end of January but is not quite ready and will not be risked.

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Former Wigan striker Zaki, having moved to the KC Stadium on loan until the end of the season, is likely to be on the bench for the crucial Barclays Premier League relegation encounter.

Defender Kamil Zayatte (ankle) is doubtful having not trained this week, while Geovanni (knee) and Kamel Ghilas (thigh) have niggly injuries.

Seyi Olofinjana is still at the African Nations Cup but Daniel Cousin has returned.

Hull and Wolves go into the game separated by just a point at the bottom end of the table.

Hull have not won in eight games and Paul McShane admits it is vital the team pick up points in their first home game of 2010.

He said: "We haven't been at home for a good few weeks. Our home form this season has been decent so we are looking forward to playing at home again.

"I think we are taking decent enough form into the game - the lads here have got good spirit and togetherness.

"But we have got to start picking up points now."

Wolves newcomer Geoffrey Mujangi Bia is expected to shake off a tight hamstring in time to feature.

The on-loan Charleroi wide player was unable to train yesterday but Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is confident he will be fit for the relegation battle.

Defender George Elokobi is also set to be in contention after suffering a bout of illness earlier in the week while striker Stefan Maierhofer has recovered from his hernia operation.

But Michael Kightly and Dave Edwards have been forced to delay their comeback from respective ankle injuries for a further fortnight.

McCarthy has to decide whether to recall striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who was not even amongst the substitutes for the goalless mid-week draw with Liverpool, or persevere with a 4-5-1 formation.

McCarthy knows the importance of not losing against Phil Brown's side and will not adopt a gung-ho approach despite the Tigers having the worst defensive record in the top flight.

He said: "We want to stay in the games and it is not going to be an easy game. They have been playing 4-3-3, 4-5-1, with an extra man in midfield.

"The reality is we want to stay in the game, We don't want to go to Hull and be chasing the game and get done.

"It is alright saying we want to win. We don't want to lose, that's for sure. We won't be going to Hull and being gung-ho."

McCarthy is demanding the same level of performance as was demonstrated against Liverpool who managed only one worthwhile effort on goal throughout the 90 minutes.

He said: "I think we have got a good squad. It's the consistency that we need.

"The performance against Liverpool was terrific but we need a similar one versus Hull to get something out of the game.

"By that I mean making no mistakes, having no-one sent off, not having anyone slip, not having someone giving a bad back pass, or someone not marking from a corner kick."

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Premier League
Hull City
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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