Into the Lions' den for Hull City

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Nigel Pearson's Hull City head to London for difficult looking away tie with Millwall tomorrow.

The south Londoners are fresh from two away wins at Bristol City in the league and Wycombe in the Carling Cup, although they needed extra time to get past their second division opponents.

Pearson has to decide whether to stick with the same team that overcame Swansea last week.

Having employed a three man midfield with John Bostock playing just behind lone striker Richard Garcia at home, it will be interesting to see if Pearson opts for the same system away from the KC Stadium.

Garcia played 90 minutes for Australia on Wednesday in Slovenia where he came up against City new boy Robert Koren, hence neither will be particularly freshest for Saturday.

Alternatives to Garcia are somewhat thin on the ground though - Caleb Folan is out with a dead leg, Craig Fagan is just back in training after injury and Daniel Cousin was also on international duty with Gabon.

Mark Cullen will be the freshest of City's strikers but a lone role at an intimidating ground seems a step too far at present. I suspect Pearson will go with Garcia; trusting his discipline in chasing down defenders and of the strikers available it looks the best option. Hopefully Bostock will continue where he left off last Saturday.

Quite what Pearson will have made from reports in the local press that Jimmy Bullard seemingly wants to stay with City and fight for his place is anyone's guess.

Bullard is effectively out of first team plans until the transfer window shuts and with the form shown by captain Ian Ashbee and Tom Cairney last week, it's hard to see Bullard getting a first team place in the current system.

Throw in new signing Koren and it gets bleaker for Bullard. I expect Ashbee and Cairney to start along side Kevin Kilbane and either Will Atkinson or Jamie Devitt.

Devitt looks to be the frontrunner after his impressive display coming off the bench last Saturday, but whoever gets the nod will have to work hard to keep their place.

Nick Barmby provides experienced cover across the midfield and of course the addition of Koren makes the competition fierce.

However, the Slovenian skipper may have to make do with a place on the bench but he is a classy alternative and his versatility will give the Tigers an even greater edge.

Defensively City were sound last week and there are no worries in that department, although Millwall's striker Morison is sure to test them.

The last two Championship meetings between the two sides back in 2005/06 ended in draws and you have to go back to 1986 for City's last win at Millwall courtesy of a Frankie Bunn goal.

Tomorrow's match has all the makings for yet another tight encounter.

*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.


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Jimmy Bullard
John Bostock
Daniel Cousin
Tom Cairney
Caleb Folan
Jamie Devitt
Nick Barmby
Craig Fagan
Robert Koren
Kevin Kilbane
Will Atkinson
Richard Garcia
Hull City
Ian Ashbee

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