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Hull City face huge selection problems ahead of FA Cup tie against Chelsea

The Tigers could be without 11 first-team players for Friday’s FA Cup clash at Stamford Bridge

Hull City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

It’s not been a great week, or a great season thus far at Hull City, Chelsea’s next opponent. Despite picking up their first victory after a streak of 10 without a win in the Championship, beating Notthingham Forest 2-0 last weekend, they remain barely above the relegation zone. They already tried sacking the manager (Slutsky out; Adkins in), but they have just four wins in the last four months in all competitions and have also recently been hit with the sad news of Ryan Mason’s early retirement.

To add to their existential woes, the Tigers could be without as many as 11 first-team players for Friday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.

Three of those are Chelsea loanees Michael Hector, Ola Aina and Fikayo Tomori, who arrived at the club in the summer thanks to the personal relationship Slutsky has with Abramovich. A fourth is former Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson, who’s never been shy of yellow cards and collected his 10th (!) of the season on Saturday to earn himself a two-match ban.

“The three Chelsea players can’t play, so Hec, Ola and Fik won’t be involved. Seb [Larsson] has picked up his 10th booking and he can’t play either. So straight away that’s challenges we’ll face and we’ve also got Middlesbrough away [in the Championship] on Tuesday.”

“We’ve just got to get on with it. It’s a great game to be playing Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup.”

-Nigel Adkins, Hull City manager; Source: Hull Daily Mail

Other absences come from injuries to attacking midfielder Markus Henriksen, winger Kamil Grosicki (both with ankle problems), striker Abel Hernandez (Achilles), midfielder James Weir (knee) and three defenders in Ondrej Mazuch (hamstring), Moses Odubajo (knee) and Michael Dawson (groin).

In Dawson’s case, there is hope that the team captain may return to full training this week. Otherwise, Hull will have only Angus MacDonald as a senior centre back available for the Chelsea match.

“Michael has got to get fit first of all. He’s moving in the right direction and hopefully he can continue his rehabilitation through the week and be involved with us. Then we’ll see where that takes us.”

-Nigel Adkins, Hull City manager; Source: Hull Daily Mail

Of course, with both teams in action the following Tuesday, Hull City playing promotion-chasing Middlesbrough away and Chelsea hosting Barcelona in the Champions League, this FA Cup fifth round clash was always likely to see major rotation from both managers.

Hopefully, Chelsea’s B team will be able to take care of Hull’s B team without too many problems and continue the good vibes we’ve started establishing with Monday’s win over West Brom.

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