Hull vs Sunderland match preview

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It is expected that Steve Bruce will have to turn to his last resort 4-4-2 formation with such a lack of defenders through injury.

Curtis Davies picked up a minor calf injury in the 1-0 home defeat to Swansea City last weekend and will be rested as a precaution so as to save him for the vital fixture against Leicester City two days later.

More problems 

Michael Dawson is also nursing an injury, however the ex-Spurs defender will be absent for a lot longer than his counterpart, facing another four weeks on the sidelines.

Injury seems to be a key concern for Steve Bruce at the moment. Mo Diame re-triggered his tendonitis stress fracture earlier in the month and Robert Snodgrass doesn't look set to feature again until next season with his devastating knee injury.

Suspension isn't doing Bruce any favours either with former Tottenham Hotspur duo Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore both banned.

But if there is any positivity for the Geordie heading back to his old club ahead of the Boxing Day clash, he has the option to play Maynor Figueroa and Tom Ince after he recalled them from their Championship loan spells as he only has 15 players who are currently fit or eligible.

Jordi Gomez is expected to be awarded with a rare starting place by Gus Poyet after Connor Wickham picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the Tyne-Wear derby.

Ex-West Bromwich Albion full back Billy Jones is also in contention for a rare place in the starting line-up after Anthony Reveillere is ruled out for a month with a leg muscle strain.

Poor form 

The Tigers won't care if their Christmas present comes late, as long as they are delivered with all three points they can have something to relax about with no win in ten games as they sit 19th in the Premier League table.

But the visitors may find it a difficult task to dismantle their opponents, labelled the draw experts this season,  as they will be brimming with confidence after an astonishing finish to the Tyne-Wear derby at the weekend.

On the other hand, if past form against the Black Cats is anything to go by then Hull should travel to the Stadium of Light with high hopes.

They did the double over Sunderland last season and also saw them off comfortably, 3-0, in the FA Cup quarter final to reach the semi-finals for only the second time in their history where of course they historically progressed to the final against Arsenal.

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