Key man: Robert Koren
Predicted position: 20th
In May, Hull celebrated promotion in the most dramatic of fashion, conceding a last minute equaliser against already promoted Cardiff, having missed a penalty a minute earlier and were made to wait for the result of Watford’s game against Leeds, which was running 16 minutes behind schedule.
Tigers (still intended strictly as a nickname, in these quarters) fans’ cardiovascular system were tested to the limit and this season promises to be another roller-coaster ride, for Hull will have to fight tooth and nail to avoid the drop.
In Steve Bruce the Yorkshire outfit has a manager who has seen it all at Premier League level and knows how to steer a team clear of the relegation zone, but can the 52-year-old repeat what he did for Wigan and, to a lesser extent, Sunderland?
Hull are seemingly up against it and looking at the fixtures list certainly doesn’t make things any easier with the Tigers facing Chelsea and Manchester City in their first two away games.
The former Manchester United captain has so far secured typically shrewd signings, as he aims to bolster his squad without embarking on the sort of reckless spending that pushed the club on the brink of bankruptcy after their relegation in 2009, before they were saved by Assem Allam.
Yannick Sagbo, the Ivorian international signed from Evian for £2m, looks a smart buy and will partner the fit-again Sone Aluko up-front, after the striker missed virtually the whole of the 2012-13 campaign.
Bruce invested £1.5m on Scotland international Allan McGregor, a reliable shot-stopper for a team that will be fighting against relegation, while Steve Harper arrived from Newcastle on a free transfer and will provide a reputable replacement for McGregor and an experienced influence in the dressing room.
Another of Hull’s free-agent signings, Maynor Figueroa, is well known to Bruce having played under him at Wigan and, should Bruce deploy last season 3-5-2 formation, his ability to slot in at wing-back could be an added bonus.
Robert Koren, Hull’s top scorer last season with 9 goals, will again be expected to provide creativity from midfield but should be relieved of some of his goal scoring duties given that Danny Graham will join up with Aluko and Sagbo up-front.
George Boyd and Stephen Quinn were hugely impressive in the Championship, but the latter remains a bit of a question mark in the top-flight, while the former will taste Premier League for the first time this season.
Hull were deprived of both of their strikers last season and ended up scoring the fewest of any of the first 12 top teams in the Championship, but Sagbo and Graham could and should provide Bruce with some much-needed firepower up-front.
The former Swansea man, in particular, will be eager to rediscover his goal-scoring vain after failing to net a single Premier League in 11 appearances for Sunderland since his move in January.
Corry Evans and Jack Hobbs have both left the club, the latter on loan, leaving Steve Bruce’s defence short of options at the moment, despite the arrival of Curtis Davies from Birmingham City.
Owner Assem Allam caused a stir with his decision to drop the ‘AFC’ suffix from the club’s official name after 109 years, but if Steve Bruce manages to keep Hull in the top flight this season, Tigers’ fans are likely to be slightly mellower towards their new name.