By Jack Malone

An intriguing encounter at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday throws up two teams each coming off the back of disheartening Premier League losses.

Hull City were smashed 5-1 at Liverpool last weekend, whilst Chelsea suffered a 3-0 defeat to local rivals Arsenal.

The Tigers have no new injuries to contend with this week, which will be a relief to acting-manager Mike Phelan, who is already working with very limited numbers.

Ahmed El Mohamady is suspended after being sent off at Anfield, meaning David Meyler may deputise at right-back, whilst Michael Dawson should return to training over the forthcoming international break.

Allan McGregor, Moses Odubajo, Greg Luer, Alex Bruce and Brian Lenihan are all longer-term absentees.

Former-Manchester United assistant manager Phelan is still yet to be appointed as permanent boss and admitted in his press conference that a deal is still a way off being reached.

Hull have hit a stumbling block in recent weeks after a good start to the season and will hope that key players such as the in-form Robert Snodgrass can keep the club afloat until reinforcements can be bought in.

As for Chelsea, John Terry will again sit this one out with injury; the skipper’s absence has seen a downturn in form for the Blues and manager Antonio Conte will be desperate to get him fit again during the internationals next week.

John Obi Mikel will also miss the trip to the Tigers, whilst knee injuries continue to sideline Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel.

There is no doubt that Conte has been troubled by his team’s recent performances, but he came out on the defensive in his press conference, stating that he does not expect to turn the club who finished 10th last season into league champions overnight.

Chelsea were all over the place at the back against Arsenal last weekend, so it would not be a surprise to see changes made to the back line – with potential for a switch of formation even.

The error-prone Gary Cahill may be the man who makes way; it was his hesitation on the ball that allowed Alexis Sanchez to open the scoring at the Emirates Stadium.

This has turned into a crucial match for the London side as they bid to get their season back on track, while the hosts may just sense an upset in the air.

Possible Hull City starting XI (4-5-1): Marshall; Meyler, Livermore, Davies, Robertson; Huddlestone, Mason, Henriksen, Snodgrass, Diomande; Hernandez

Possible Chelsea starting XI (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa


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