We take an in-depth look at Hull City's chances for the upcoming season.
Last season may well go down as the most memorable in Hull City history.
An excellent Premier League showing was coupled with a run to the FA Cup final, where they gave Arsenal an almighty scare despite just falling short.
The Tigers will now be looking to consolidate their position as a Premier League club and ensure that last year wasn’t their one season in the limelight.
To do so they have been relatively active in the transfer window, bringing in five burgeoning youngsters to replace some of the old campaigners that have left over the summer.
Improving on last season may be tough for Hull, but there is a feel-good factor around the club again and a campaign as good as last year’s will be a huge success.
Reasons to be positive
The core: The spine of Hull City’s team is actually very impressive and belies their standing as one of the relegation favourites.
At centre-back, Curtis Davies is an imposing figure and was one of the side’s top performers last year, the central-midfield duo of Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone are an excellent combination, whilst Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long are both potent outlets up-front.
It means the manager, Steve Bruce, has a solid foundation to build upon and they will only need to add a sprinkling of talent around the edges to be in with a chance.
The signings: Although Hull’s transfer activity has been understated you can see the formulation of a plan at the top of the club.
Veteran campaigners such as Robert Koren and Abdoulaye Faye have been allowed to leave and they have been replaced by younger, upgraded models.
The likes of Harry Maguire, Tom Ince and Andrew Robertson may not strike fear into many Premier League teams’ hearts, but they do provide Hull with an exciting future and they can be three young, stars which Bruce can develop and bring into the team slowly.
Steve Bruce: A manager who has been criticised in his career, previously, Bruce seems at home at Hull and he looks to have created a strong unity within the team.
His tactical switches throughout the season were impressive and his starting formation of a 3-5-2 caused some of the bigger sides problems last year.
Reasons to be fearful
European football: Although it is a fantastic achievement for Hull to be playing in the Europa League, and one which should be grasped with both hands, the increase in fixtures will test their squad to the max.
Hull do not possess an abundance of players and they must ensure that the competition does not derail their domestic campaign.
The owner: Hull’s proposed name-change threatened to tarnish what was a memorable season of the pitch.
Assem Allam has invested a lot of money into the club, but he shouldn’t be allowed to simply change its tradition and hopefully his bizarre idea will be put to the back of his mind given the FA’s rejection.
No room for improvement: Topping last season will be a hard task for Hull, so they must ensure that the squad don’t believe that they have achieved all that they can.
A higher placed Premier League finish may be within their grasp, but given their European commitments another cup-run could well back-fire.
Will the manager go?
It seems very unlikely, unless he is a victim of his own success. Bruce has led this club to the Premier League and taken them forward massively in recent times so he should be safe at least for this season.
Prediction: 17th. Hull could well struggle. The added fixtures that they face and the fact that they haven’t added too much immediate quality to the first-team squad this year is a slight concern, but they should just about avoid the drop.
Can Hull avoid the drop this season?