Hull City winger Elmohamady is out of form.

Steve Bruce must motivate lacklustre Tigers

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Steve Bruce must motivate his players ahead of the busy Christmas period if they are to keep pace with their promotion rivals. Hull go into their Boxing Day clash with Burnley having won just twice in their last six games.

Their opponents have also struggled for form of late but a 4-0 thrashing of Charlton Athletic at the weekend will have given Sean Dyche's side a much-needed confidence boost.

The Clarets have been somewhat of a bogey team for the Tigers over the years, with Hull winning just once in their last ten encounters with the Lancashire side.


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Striker Andre Gray will no doubt be hungry to get on the score-sheet at the weekend after being linked with a summer move to the Tigers. Hull, however, were unable to meet Brentford's valuation and Gray instead signed for Burnley.

Poor form needs to change

Hull are in desperate need of three points however, after their lacklustre display at Rotherham which saw Bruce's side suffer a 2-0 defeat - their fifth of the season.

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Another uninspiring performance from last season's player of the year Ahmed Elmohamady will be a huge cause for concern. The talented Egyptian has not looked himself this season with rumours linking him to a host of Premier League sides at the start of the season perhaps unsettling the winger.

Elmohamady was not the only under-performer against Neil Redfearn's side as the Tigers struggled to get going. Attacking midfielder Mohamed Diamé was introduced in the second half but couldn't make any impact in what was a game to forget for Bruce and his team.

The Senegalese international spent the majority of last campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury and despite scoring three goals for the Tigers this season, has struggled to maintain the required level of consistency for a player of his calibre.

Hull City v Southampton - Premier League

Leaders need to stand up

The absence of captain Michael Dawson is proving to be crucial as the Tigers appear to be lacking a natural leader. Stand-in captain Jake Livermore was one of Hull's brighter players at the weekend but was unable to inspire a successive comeback after scoring a 90th minute winner against Reading in the game prior.

Bruce is now faced with a dilemma ahead of the game against Burnley as to whether he should reshuffle his formation and team selection. On-loan Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom saw a number of chances go begging at the weekend and should really have brought the Tigers level in the second half.

Norwegian striker Adama Diomande is unlikely to start after only two brief substitute appearances but it is clear that Hull's forwards must rediscover their goal-scoring form if they are to see off Burnley.

Brentford v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship

Tricky away games against Preston North End and Queens Park Rangers follow the Boxing Day clash and Bruce will be hoping for at least four points if they are to keep pace with league leaders Middlesbrough.

Another option would be to move Scottish international Shaun Maloney central, a tactic that paid dividends against Bristol City where he came off the bench to equalise.

Whatever the manager decides, it is obvious that he must rejuvenate a side that have looked out of sorts since the last international break.

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