Europa League: Lokeren v Hull match preview

A look ahead to this tonight’s Europa League fixture at the Daknam Stadium

Steve Bruce aims to lead his Hull side deeper into uncharted territory as they bid to reach the Europa League group stage for the first time in their history, with just a two-legged tie against Belgian side Lokeren standing in their way.

The Tigers’ manager will be eyeing a good cup run as fans continue to reap the rewards of his appointment; since joining in 2012, Bruce has clinched promotion to the Premier League, before guiding his team to an FA Cup final showdown against Arsenal in the same year. However, he has conceded that his side must be better if they are to progress in the competition, after their European adventure was almost over before it had begun, but for a late Sone Aluko volley to secure a dramatic victory over AS Trencin in the previous round.

Bruce has cause to be optimistic on that front though, as his side come into the game off the back of a great start to the season with a 1-0 away victory to Premier League new boys QPR, thanks to a James Chester second-half header. 

However, the former Birmingham and Wigan manager is likely to ring the changes for the tie as he attempts to juggle the notoriously difficult task of competing domestically and continentally, and is keen to use the depth of his squad. This means that despite a heroic performance against QPR, in which he saved a Charlie Austin penalty, goalkeeper Allan McGregor is likely to be afforded a rest, with Steve Harper in line to deputise. Others who are pushing for a place in the team include George Boyd, Yannick Sagbo and Sone Aluko, who found themselves on the fringes of the team at the weekend. Meanwhile, an injury for Alex Bruce means the Hull boss will shuffle his pack at the back with Paul McShane and Maynor Figueroa in contention. The Tigers’ were also rocked by news early this week that new signing Robert Snodgrass will be sidelined for six months with a dislocated kneecap.

Lokeren on the other hand have a European dream of their own. Sitting 7 in the Jupiter League with two wins from their first four games, they will be hoping they can sink Hull’s maiden voyage into Europe by taking a positive result to the KC Stadium in the return leg next week, while Hull will be desperate to make sure it stays afloat.

KICK-OFF: Thursday, 7.30pm

PAST MEETINGS…

The sides have never met before.

STATS…

Hull have never played in Europe before this season.

Prior to Saturday's clean sheet, Hull had conceded two or more goals in each of their last five Premier League fixtures.

Ahmed Elmohamady was the only player to be ever present last season in the league for Hull, starting all 38 matches.

Hull ended their pre-season unbeaten, winning two matches and drawing the other two.

ODDS…

Lokeren to win: 3

Hull to win: 2.68

Draw: 3.35

TV:

Not televised.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent