Fleetwood v Hull | Friday 9th October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The top two leagues take a break as the international fixtures come back into play, but that doesn’t stop League One clubs taking to the field this weekend as they take centre stage in the domestic footballing calendar. Your Friday night televised football fix comes from Lancashire as Fleetwood Town entertain Hull City.
It has been a contrasting start to the 2020/21 campaign for both of these clubs. Hopes were high in the Fleetwood camp of kicking on from their play-off appearance of last season, but three defeats from their first four league assignments this term leaves them in the relegation zone, albeit at this very early stage.
Hull of course were relegated from the Championship and there were real fears of the club potentially dropping through the leagues, but League One specialist Grant McCann, who surprised many simply by retaining his job in the off-season, has guided the Tigers to a 100% record four games in, and without conceding a goal.
Whilst the Cod Army have lost three League One games in a row, all of them was by a one-goal margin, so they’re essentially losing out in tight matches at the moment.
Joey Barton will be frustrating by that in one sense, but on the other he knows they are not far away from turning those type of results around. They led away at Peterborough for example until the 91st-minute, yet still lost, whilst they also conceded at a similar time in defeat to Rochdale last time out. They need to see out games if they’re to bounce back.
Another area Barton will be keen for his troops to improve upon is their all-round attacking play, specifically their threat in front of goal. Only Gillingham have had fewer shots on goal in League One this season, whilst they’re also ranked fourth-worst in relation to final third entries. They need to do more in attack, and facing a Hull side who are yet to concede will be a severe test of their creativity. With the likes of Barrie McKay, Callum Camps, Paul Coutts and Glenn Whelan in their ranks, you’d like to think they can improve those numbers.
Hull have settled into life at this level like a duck to water, and players that perhaps didn’t make a major impact last season are beginning to step up at this lower level. It is maybe no surprise to some to see them doing so well given the quality of player they have within their roster. Reece Burke, George Honeyman and Josh Magennis are just a selection of players who would walk into most, if not all, sides in this league.
McCann has organised this team from a defensive perspective. He had to really given that was arguably the reason they were relegation last season. Four clean sheets is great, but the former Peterborough and Doncaster boss will probably be most pleased to see they’ve conceded only an average of 8.80 opposition shots per game, with only five teams bettering those numbers.
It is proving they’re hard to beat, whilst they’re not too shabby in attack, either. They are well ahead of Fleetwood in practically every offensive metric so far, and they will have every chance of recording yet another victory.
So much so, I’m happy to throw forward Hull to win this game at 8/5 (Bet365). Ultimately they are finding ways of passing the kind of teams that Fleetwood are seemingly finding ways of coming off second best in. Fleetwood will turn things around eventually and soon begin to move away from the relegation zone in the coming weeks and months, but Hull are just ‘on it’ right now.
A big reason for that is also the impact of Keane Lewis-Potter, who I am surprised didn’t feature more than he did towards the end of last season at the KCOM Stadium. His youthful exuberance would have injected some life and energy into a team that looked void of exactly that.
Nevertheless, he is making a big impression in League One, and we’re now seeing the benefit of him appearing on a more regular basis. The 19-year-old, who was born in Hull, is far and away top of the team stats in relation to the most shots on goal, and also leads the team in Expected Goals (xG) figures, too. He clearly is both not afraid to shoot and able to get into the right sort of areas. This makes him a threat, and one I think Fleetwood will struggle to handle.
27/10 (888Sport) on him to score at any point across the 90 minutes resembles a worthy investment given his importance to the team, and he’ll likely be at the forefront of everything Hull look to achieve on Friday night.