The FA Cup sixth round matches over the weekend will decide which English teams make the last four of the oldest cup competition in club football. The Tigers host a Sunderland side fresh from defeat in the League Cup final. Former Manchester United defender Bruce who has been in charge of Hull City since June 2012 will be looking to secure a place in the last four of the FA Cup, something The Tigers have failed to do since 1929/30 domestic season.
Hull City who currently sit 12th in the Premier League table have been inconsistent with their results this season, but have managed to consolidate themselves in a comfortable mid table position. The Tigers have won twice and lost two of their last five games, sharing the spoils on one occasion against Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup fifth round.
Wins against Middlesbrough (2-0) and Southend United (2-0) in the earlier stages of the tournament have helped them progress, but a fifth round replay was needed when The Tigers drew 1-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion towards the end of February. With goals from Curtis Davies and Robert Koren in the replay at the KC Stadium, Hull City have found themselves in amongst the last eight of the competition. The Tigers have found the net seven times in the FA Cup this campaign, with forward Matty Fryatt leading the club’s cup scoring charts with two goals. Both January signings Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are cup tied, having represented their previous clubs in former stages of the tournament.
Gus Poyet will lead his side into the FA Cup tie at the KC Stadium with the League Cup defeat inflicted by Manchester City still fresh in the memory of players and fans. The League Cup run has overshadowed The Black Cat’s early Premier League misfortunes with the sacking of Paolo Di Canio and has injected the club with belief and confidence as the team from Wear side still find themselves in the Premier League drop zone at this point in time.
Sunderland visit Hull on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of Manchester City (League Cup) and Arsenal (Premier League) and have conceded seven goals while only managing to score twice. This will be the first FA Cup tie this season that Poyet’s side will play away from home, with wins against Carlisle United (3-1), Kidderminster (1-0) and a victory against Premiership side Southampton (1-0) have propelled them to the sixth round. Four Sunderland (El Hadji Ba, Craig Gardener, Adam Johnson, Charalampos Mavrias) players have scored a goal each in this campaign.
Hull City have seemed comfortable in mid table this season in the Premier League while the Black Cats have had their share ups and downs this domestic campaign with the threat of relegation still looming large at the Stadium of Light. The League Cup campaign has provided Sunderland with a certain air of belief and confidence amongst the players at the club however The Tigers may prove to be tough opposition with Bruce aiming at a semi-final spot for Hull City for a first time in over seven decades.
KICK OFF: Sunday, 2.00pm (ITV)
Past Three Meetings:
Sunderland 0 Hull City 2 (Long, Jelavic), Premier League, February 2014
Hull City 1 (Cuellar og) Sunderland 0, Premier League, November 2013
Hull City 0 Sunderland 1 (Bent), Premier League, April 2010
There have been three FA Cup meetings between Hull and Sunderland, the last of which came in 1976 when the Wearsiders won 1-0 at Roker Park.
Sunderland also beat Hull in their first ever two meetings in any competition in FA Cup matches in 1920 (6-2 home win) and 1933 (2-0 away win).
Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore played 30 times for Hull City in 2009/10 scoring just two goals. He made one FA Cup appearance as a substitute in a 1-4 defeat by Wigan.
Altidore has played 32 times for Sunderland and also scored just two goals in that time.
Sunderland have not won four FA Cup matches in a row since they won the final in 1973.
The Black Cats have won just two of their last 31 away FA Cup games against a team from the top division (W2-D11-L18).
One month ago, Hull completed the league double over Sunderland with a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light after winning 1-0 at the KC Stadium earlier in the season.
Nikica Jelavic is cup tied after already scoring two goals in one game against QPR in this season’s 3rd Round for Everton.
Shane Long is cup tied, having already played for West Brom in the competition this season, which is a shame has he has scored five goals in his last six FA Cup starts.
Hull City have kept just two clean sheets in their last 14 FA Cup matches.
Hull to win: 2.24
Sunderland to win: 3.75