Adkins warns against complacency

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has demanded that his players do not get carried away by their excellent recent run.

The Tigers, who host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, have won their last five Championship matches and have moved up to 13th in the table.

Hull are 11/10 to beat the Owls and 15/2 to win the match 2-1.

Adkins is expecting a tough Yorkshire derby against Wednesday who have appointed Steve Bruce as their next manager.

The South Yorkshire side are 16th in the table and 25/1 to be relegated this term.

"It will be a tough game and they have a squad of really good players with quite a strong attacking force," said Adkins.

"There has been a change of manager there and Steve Bruce will come in next month, but his coaching staff are already in there so the methods of how they want to go and perform are being put in place.

"They're on a good run of form themselves and they've brought a few players back into it, Keiren Westwood for example who had been left out in the cold a little bit.

"There's a spirit about them as well, so we know it's going to be challenging. We've been on a good run of form but we can't have any complacency kicking in."

Bruce confirmed as Wednesday boss

Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed that Steve Bruce will take over as the club's new manager, starting work on 1st February.

Dutchman Jos Luhukay left the Championship club in December after less than a year in charge and Bruce, who left Aston Villa earlier this season, had been strongly tipped to take over at Hillsborough.

Now that has been confirmed by the club, Bruce taking over next month with his assistants Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence taking charge in the meantime.

A club statement read: "Steve Bruce brings a first class CV to Hillsborough, with an outstanding success rate of Championship promotions – four to date,"

Bruce has previously been in charge at Sheffield United but most recently has been in charge at Hull City and then Aston Villa.

His Hull side won promotion to the Premier League in 2016, winning the Championship play-off final at Wembley, beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0.

That was his second promotion to the top flight with Hull, he also took Birmingham up twice.

Most recently he took Villa to the play-off final last season where they lost to Fulham and, after a poor start to the current campaign, he left Villa Park to be replaced by Dean Smith.

Since Luhukay left Hillsborough, Wednesday have been unbeaten in the four games in which Lee Bullen has been in temporary charge.

They currently sit 16th in the Championship table, 10 points clear of the bottom three but 11 shy of the top six.

Their last game was a 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham on New Year's Day while this weekend they are in action at home to League One Luton in the third round of the FA Cup.

They are 5/4 to win through to the fourth round on Saturday with Luton 2/1.

Wednesday are 40/1 to finish in the top six of the Championship this season with Villa 5/4 and Hull City 10/1.

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Noble to finish with Hammers

Midfielder Mark Noble expects to end his playing career with West Ham, having seen a 12-month option taken up to extend his stay until the summer of 2021.

The 31-year-old has racked up nearly 450 appearances for the Hammers, having made his debut as a teenager in August 2004, with his only time away from the Irons being loan spells with Hull City and Ipswich Town.

And Noble, who has twice helped West Ham regain their Premier League place, is delighted to have agreed an extension which he says will ensure he remains a one-club man.

He told the club's official website: "It was an option in my contract that I signed a few years ago now and it's an extra year, which is fantastic for me and my family.

"I've been at this club all my life, so it takes me to the end of my career. I think we're moving in the right direction, so it was the right time to do it.

"I hope that the club keeps moving in the right way and hopefully I can be a part of that."

Noble has started 11 of the Londoners' 16 Premier League games played so far this season, missing three games as a result of being shown a straight red card in the 1-1 draw at Leicester City in late October.

Next up for Noble and the Hammers is a derby clash with Fulham on Saturday, with the Irons 11/8 to win at Craven Cottage, 11/1 to do so by a 1-0 scoreline and 10/3 to triumph by a one-goal margin.

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Campbell to miss Canaries clash

Hull City striker Fraizer Campbell will miss Tuesday's clash against Norwich City after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at the weekend.

The 31-year-old former Sunderland, Cardiff City and Crystal Palace forward, who has found the net six times this season, including four in his last four games, was booked in the closing stages of the Tigers' 2-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest and will serve a one-game suspension.

Hull boss Nigel Adkins has a dearth of attacking options as Chris Martin and Will Keane are the only strikers available to him for the visit of the league leaders to the KC Stadium.

In addition Jackson Irvine, Markus Henriksen, Tommy Elphick and Jordy de Wijs are all one yellow card away from suspension.

Meanwhile, Tommy Elphick believes the Tigers are going backwards and are in grave danger of being relegated to League One.

Second-half goals by Forest's Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley condemned Hull to their 10th defeat of the season and they are 5/2 to be relegated from the Championship and 12/5 to secure a shock victory against the Canaries on Tuesday.

Elphick, who is on loan at Hull from Aston Villa, said: "It feels like we've gone back six weeks and we need to draw a line under this defeat quickly and move on."

Adkins rues Evandro’s absence

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins expects that Brazilian midfielder Evandro will be sidelined for the next 'few weeks' with a calf injury.

The 32-year-old former Porto star picked up the problem in training last week and missed the 1-1 draw with Preston North End at the weekend, a result that left the Tigers 23rd in the Championship table and 11/8 to be relegated this term.

Evandro has not played since September because of a hamstring complaint but had been expected to feature against Preston until suffering the calf injury.

He is expected to miss the trips to Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers as well as West Brom's visit to Hull at the beginning of November.

"It's fair to say it's probably going to be a few weeks before he's back," Adkins confirmed.

"That's a blow because I think everyone knows what I think about Evandro. That care and attention, that link up play in the attacking third.

"He never gives the ball away and he creates. It's a shame he's not available at this moment in time."

Markus Henriksen could feature at Ashton Gate on Wednesday though when Hull are 15/4 to beat Bristol City. However, Stephen Kingsley is a doubt after also sitting out the Preston clash.

Adkins tips Leeds for promotion

Nigel Adkins is in no doubt that Leeds United will be promoted to the Premier League after they defeated his Hull City side 1-0 on Tuesday.

The Tigers' boss was disappointed that his players could not hold out against Marcelo Bielsa's Whites at the KCOM Stadium as Tyler Roberts' effort from just outside the area on 51 minutes was enough to hand the visitors all three points.

The win took Leeds back to the top of the Championship above Middlesbrough on goal difference after they won 2-0 at lowly Ipswich.

Adkins accepted that Leeds were the better side with the majority of possession and 11 shots at goal, while he expects them to be one of the teams who win automatic promotion to the Premier League alongside Boro who Hull held to a 1-1 home draw at the weekend.

"I thought we've probably played against one of the best sides I've seen in the Championship for many years," he said.

"They're an excellent side. I really enjoyed the challenge. We've changed our shape three or four times, they've had to change their shape. You can see how expansive they can go and play and how quick and they're going to take teams to the cleaners.

"From our point of view I'm very disappointed that we've conceded a goal from so far out, that's ultimately given them the game. We managed to make sure we stayed in the game but it was a really good tactical game."

Adkins added: "If you think we're on an even playing field, we're not. We've just played against a really good side. We've just played Middlesbrough at the weekend and picked up a result there.

"Middlesbrough and Leeds play two total different games of football and both of them will probably be in the top two in the season."

Leeds are 5/1 to win the Championship and are 11/8 to be promoted, while Middlesbrough are priced at 5/1 and 6/5 respectively.

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Adkins welcomes fresh start

Nigel Adkins believes his young Hull City team, who start their Championship campaign with a game against Aston Villa on Monday, can exceed expectations.

The Tigers have dispensed with the services of 11 senior players over the summer, including Michael Dawson, David Meyler, Allan McGregor and Abel Hernandez, with only six new signings being made to date.

Hull finished 18th last season and are 7/2 to be relegated this term, while they can be backed at 2/1 to beat Aston Villa, 9/2 to be promoted.

"I want supporters to know the players will work their socks off and they'll be passionate about what they do," said the former Scunthorpe United, Southampton and Reading boss Adkins.

"If they're not good enough, they're not good enough. But it won't be for the want of trying. They're a young and hungry group.

"It's maybe a good thing that there are no expectations because I've been at clubs where there are massive expectations and sometimes it's unrealistic.

"Across the board here everyone can see there's been changes, financial and personnel, but it's a fresh start."

Adkins makes double swoop

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has strengthened his squad with the captures of Reece Burke from West Ham and Genoa's David Milinkovic.

Burke is happy to drop down to the Championship after struggling to break into the Hammers' first team.

The 21-year-old central defender said: "I like to get on the ball as a centre-half and want to be in a team that wants to play.

"I had a season in League One with Bradford City first but the next step after that was obviously the Championship. The Championship is probably one of the hardest leagues around but I enjoy that and hopefully I can help Hull City to push on in this division."

Meanwhile, Milinkovic has signed an initial three-year deal with the Tigers, 16/1 to be promoted from the Championship this term and 6/4 to beat Sheffield United on 6th August.

The 24-year-old winger said: "I know 100 per cent that this is a very good and exciting opportunity for me.

"I have signed for three years here and I am very happy about this. I had a very good experience last season with Hearts in Scotland and I think moving to the Championship now is a harder level. I am really looking forward to my time here."

Meyler heads out of Hull

Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has opted to bring David Meyler's five-and-a-half-year spell with the club to an end.

Meyler, who joined the Tigers, initially on loan, from Sunderland in November 2012 will be allowed to leave the KCOM Stadium on a free transfer this summer.

The Republic of Ireland international made 191 appearances for the club and was involved in the promotion-winning campaigns of 2012/13 and 2015/16.

Meanwhile, Adkins has offered new contracts to Abel Hernandez, Seb Larsson, Max Clark and Moses Odubajo while captain Michael Dawson, who has been linked with a summer switch to Nottingham Forest, is "in discussions" over his future.

Hernandez has been linked with a host of clubs including Celtic, Leeds and Wolves, while Clark has been interesting Nottingham Forest and Millwall.

Youngsters Josh Clackstone, Greg Olley and Greg Luer have also been released while Adama Diomande and Allan McGregor have already left the club this month.

Adkins has also handed one-year contract extensions to defenders Adam Curry and Lewis Ritson.

Fulham can be backed at 8/13 to win Saturday's Championship play-off final while Aston Villa are available at 6/5 to come out on top at Wembley and return to the top-flight after a two-year absence.

Conte pleased with Blues form

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte believes his side are in good heart as they prepare to take on Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

The Blues play host to Barca at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening, having secured a comfortable 4-0 home win over Championship strugglers Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

And Conte is pleased with the way his players have performed in their last two games, having previously claimed a 3-0 Premier League success against rock-bottom West Brom.

He said after a comprehensive victory over the Tigers: "The last two wins were very important for us and our confidence.

"To win in the league, and then the FA Cup, was very important for our confidence and to prepare in the right way for Barcelona.

"To play against Barcelona is a great challenge for us. This type of game must give us great enthusiasm. We must be excited to play, especially against this team.

"I consider Barcelona one of the best teams in the world. You have to try and compete with them at this level. It won't be easy, for sure, but we must have the right confidence and then we'll see what happens.

"We must take the right time to make the best decision to pick the best XI to start that game."

Chelsea and Barcelona last met in the Champions league just under six years ago, with the Blues earning a 3-2 aggregate success in their semi-final tie before going on to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.

A draw on Tuesday evening is priced at 12/5, with Chelsea 7/2 to keep a clean sheet, while the Blues are 11/4 to progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of Barcelona.

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