Meet the opposition | Hull City
As Swansea City prepare to host Hull City this weekend, we take a closer look at the Tigers.
What's their story?
Hull City made an immediate return to the Championship after being relegated to League One in 2020. Despite their relegation to the third tier for the first time since 2005, the Tigers ensured it was a short stay as they won the title after finishing two points above Peterborough.
Hull have been promoted to the top-flight on three separate occasions. Their first Premier League season was in 2008, and their most recent stint came in 2016, when they were relegated after just one season. They also reached the FA Cup final in 2014, and, despite scoring twice within the opening eight minutes, they lost 3-2 to Arsenal courtesy of Aaron Ramsey’s extra-time winner.
How's their form?
Hull have endured a tough start to the new campaign, picking up just one win in their first five league fixtures. That win came on the opening day – a 4-1 thrashing of Preston at Deepdale - but they have failed the find the net in the league since that game.
The Tigers were knocked out by Wigan in the first round of the Carabao Cup on penalties, and followed that result with losses to QPR, Derby and Fulham. Their most recent outing saw them draw 0-0 with Bournemouth at home.
Who's the boss?
Grant McCann. McCann began his coaching career at Peterborough United, where he was appointed caretaker manager for the remainder of the 2014-15 season before being installed in a permanent post in May of 2016.
The Northern Irishman spent one season in charge of Doncaster Rovers in 2018 before being named Hull manager in June of 2019. Despite seeing his Tigers team relegated from the Championship, he guided them to the League One title last season in what was his first piece of silverware as manager.
As a player, McCann made over 500 total appearances, enjoying spells with West Ham, Livingston, Notts County, Barnsley, Scunthorpe United, Peterborough and Linfield.
Who's the captain?
Richie Smallwood penned a two-year deal with the Tigers in the summer of 2020, and was immediately trusted with the captain’s armband for the upcoming 2020-21 season, a campaign in which the midfielder made 31 appearances and helped his side finish top of League One.
Smallwood began his career at Middlesbrough, where he spent four years before making the move to Rotherham United in 2014. He made over 100 appearances for the Millers before heading to Blackburn Rovers. His three productive seasons at Ewood Park led to Hull coming in for the skipper ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Who are the key men?
Last season, Hull City fielded a formidable goal-scoring duo on their way to the League One trophy; Mallik Wilks and Josh Magennis combined for 41 goals in all competitions. Magennis has already netted once for Hull this season, doing so in the opening-day win over Preston.
After Hull’s title-winning season last year, attacking midfielder George Honeyman was nominated for the league’s Player of the Season award. His creativity going forward saw him notch four goals and an outstanding 14 assists in the league.