Hull City v Watford preview: Dieumerci Mbokani in contention
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 22/04/17 1:44pm
Dieumerci Mbokani could make his first start in almost two months as relegation-threatened Hull host Watford on Saturday.
The striker made his return from a six-week injury lay-off as a substitute in the 3-1 defeat to Stoke last weekend.
That loss left the Tigers hovering about the Premier League relegation zone, two points above Swansea in 18th place.
But their form at home under Marco Silva has been impressive as they have picked up 16 points from a possible 18 at the KCOM Stadium to boost their survival chances.
Watford reached the 40-point mark with a 1-0 victory over Swansea in their last match.
And manager Walter Mazzarri admitted he must now motivate his players for the final six games of the season.
"They might feel safe," he said. "I hope to manage to get into their heads everything that we have spoken about in the week (during training).
"I was a player once, unfortunately, subconsciously, if you reach your target you relax, so I am curious to see what is going to happen when we play on Saturday."
Silva has options should he wish to make changes following the defeat against Stoke, with Abel Hernandez and Ahmed Elmohamady pushing for recalls after starting on the bench at the bet365 Stadium.
Defender Omar Elabdellaoui's back problem will keep him on the sidelines while Ryan Mason, Moses Odubajo and Will Keane are also absent through injury.
Watford will have Miguel Britos available again after the defender completed a two-match suspension, but fellow centre-back Craig Cathcart has been carrying a knee problem and is not expected to feature.
Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Roberto Pereyra (knee) and Ben Watson (groin) have all been out, while forward Mauro Zarate (anterior cruciate ligament) is a long-term absentee.
Hull have lost their last two league games against Watford, both by a 1-0 scoreline. They last lost three in a row against them in 1989.
Watford won on their last visit to Hull in the league, thanks to a Troy Deeney winner in April 2013. They've never won back to back away league games in Hull.
The Hornets won the reverse fixture in October 1-0 via a Michael Dawson own goal. They had 23 shots in the match, with none on target, which is a record for a winning team in a Premier League match (since 2003/04).
Hull have claimed 25 points in home games this season, compared to five away, accounting for 83 per cent of their total (25/30).
Silva has won five of his six home games in charge of the Tigers, drawing the other. No Hull manager before him had won three home Premier League games in a row.
Only in one previous Premier League campaign have Hull recorded more wins than the eight they have this season (10 in 2013/14).
A win for the Hornets would equal their win total for last season (12). In their other two Premier League campaigns, they had 11 wins combined (six in 1999/2000 and five in 2006/07).
Harry Maguire has netted in back to back league games for the first time in his career (two goals) - he had scored twice in his previous 93 league outings prior to this run.
Watford's season is fizzling out a little bit and I expect Hull's brilliant home record to continue.
They have to win with a difficult game at Southampton next but they have been superb at the KCOM and I can see them putting three past the Hornets.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (Sky Bet odds 14/1)
Hull are Sky Bet's 17/20 favourites for the victory with Watford 16/5 to halt their fine home form by leaving the KCOM Stadium with three points, while the draw is priced at 5/2. The Tigers head into the clash as 11/8 fourth favourites for relegation while their visitors are 3/1 for a top-half finish.
Oumar Niasse heads the first goalscorer betting at 9/2 while Deeney is rated the Hornets' main threat at 13/2 to net first.
Hull v Watford is included in this weekend's Super 6 line-up, with £250,000 up for grabs again following jackpot wins in the last two rounds. Enter your predictions for free here.