Hull flop at home, again
Hull signed off for the international break with a desperately disappointing 3-1 defeat to Luton at the MKM Stadium as the Tigers' wretched form in front of their own supporters reached a new low. Playing in front of the biggest home crowd this season, a reasonable City performance was undone by two shambolic pieces of defending in each half.
Shota Arveladze's outfit remain 13 points clear of the drop-zone and look likely to survive in their first season back in the second-tier. However, Hull have been reliant on their road record - the Tigers boast the division's worst home return but at least managed to sneak a rare home goal, Tom Eaves notching a consolation strike in stoppage-time against Town.
Arveladze found the poor home form difficult to explain post-match. He said: "Football can be really unfair. I still believe we didn't really deserve to concede three goals. We made mistakes - we make more mistakes at home than away, and we need to improve that and understand why it is happening. We need to give our fans something to cheer about."
Huddersfield outclassed by Cherries
Huddersfield's promotion prospects were handed a major blow as the Terriers fell to successive defeats before the international break. After being beaten 2-0 at Millwall, Town were outclassed and soundly beaten by high-flying Bournemouth at their John Smith's Stadium base, effectively out of the game after the Cherries opened the scoring early on.
The losses brought Huddersfield's 17-game unbeaten streak to an end with boss Carlos Corberan suggesting his squad were suffering from strains of a long season. He said: "The players were fatigued - we did a lot of running against Millwall. We knew this type of game you can only compete at 100%. The team now needs time to stop and refresh."
A rested Jonathan Hogg should return here and Corberan is confident the Terriers can get back on track. He said: "In life if you don't show you can go again, you can't live, you can't compete, you can't do anything. I knew when we were in a positive dynamic we were going to lose games, and it's not about the games you lose, it's about how you react to defeats."
Hull have fallen to three straight defeats in head-to-head matches against Huddersfield, including a 2-0 reverse when the two teams locked horns back in October. Nevertheless, the Humbersiders have picked up top honours in five of their past seven home league meetings with the Terriers (W5-D1-L1) dating back to 1992.
Hull 2.9215/8 appeared to be heading for an immediate return to League One after a concerning opening 16 games. However, the Tigers have since posted W9-D5-L9 to move clear of danger. The Humbersiders have toiled on home soil, mind, returning W5-D3-L11, scoring the fewest home goals in the division and firing blanks in 9/19 at the MKM Stadium.
Huddersfield 2.727/4 were the Championship's form team going back to the beginning of December as the Terriers put together an exceptional 17-game unbeaten streak. Back-to-back losses halted progress but the Terriers have remained difficult to beat for the lesser lights - Town have W12-D9-L3 when facing sides in 11th and below this season.
No Championship side has seen fewer goals per-game on average than Hull (1.97) this season with the Tigers delivering Under 2.5 Goals 1.654/6 profit in 29/39 (74%) fixtures. At the MKM Stadium, those figures do at least increase slightly yet 13/19 (68%) of those showdowns produced Under 2.5 Goals and only 6/19 (32%) saw both sides score.
Huddersfield's outings also favour a low-scoring approach with Carlos Corberan's side returning rock-solid defensive numbers. Only two teams have kept more shutouts than the Terriers' tally of 15, suggesting Friday night's fixture could prove to be quite a tight affair, especially considering what's at stake for the visitors.
With that in mind, I'm happy to take Huddersfield Double Chance and Under 3.5 Goals at appealing 1.758/11 quotes on the Sportsbook Bet Builder. We'll be paid out should Town win 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1, as well profiting from a potential 0-0 or 1-1 draw.