Crystal Palace v Hull preview: Tigers without Lazar Markovic for crunch Palace clash
Last Updated: 14/05/17 12:17pm
Marco Silva will be without influential winger Lazar Markovic as Hull travel to face Crystal Palace on Super Sunday in a crucial relegation battle in the Premier League.
The Liverpool loanee, 23, had been a key component in Silva's plan to escape the drop, but will miss the final two games of the campaign after he sustained an ankle injury in the 2-0 defeat to Sunderland last Saturday.
Swansea's win over Sunderland on Saturday means Hull will be relegated if they lose - and a draw is unlikely to be good enough given their inferior goal difference.
However, a victory over Palace would result in a straight survival fight between the three clubs on the final day of the season.
Silva said: "It's a fight between the three clubs. When we were out of the bottom three I always said to you that it would not be decided until the end. We have two finals now and the first is on Sunday and we will play it like a final and will continue to believe."
Palace boss Sam Allardyce has woes of his own after fellow Liverpool loanee, Mamadou Sakho, was ruled out of the final two games of the season with a knee injury. Following the 5-0 defeat to Man City, his side are also facing the stark possibility of relegation, though a draw will be enough.
In addition to the injured Sakho, Palace are likely to be without Joel Ward (nose) and Andros Townsend (Achilles); Scott Dann (knee) could appear before the end of the season, though Allardyce says it would be 'a calculated risk'.
Yohan Cabaye (knock) and James Tomkins (ankle) are likely to be restored to the matchday squad but the Palace boss added that he will not know whether he can recall some returning squad members until Saturday's scheduled training session.
For Hull, Markovic should be the sole fresh injury worry heading into the final week of the season but they will welcome Omar Elabdellaoui back into the fold after missing the last seven games with a back injury and Tom Huddlestone could return to the starting XI.
Since winning their first two Premier League meetings with Hull in 2013/14, Palace have failed to win any of their last three (D1 L2).
The last Premier League meeting between the two in December was a 3-3 draw, seeing as many goals (6) as in the previous four combined.
The Eagles' 2-0 defeat against Hull in their most recent home league meeting is their only defeat in their last 11 at Selhurst Park (W5 D5); the Tigers last won back to back away games at Palace in October 1985 (a run of three).
Hull have the worst away record in the Premier League this season, picking up six points and winning just one of their 18 games (D3 L14).
Crystal Palace have lost all three of their previous home games this season against opposition who started the day in the relegation zone, including a 0-4 hammering in their last such game against Sunderland.
The Tigers have failed to score in seven of their last eight Premier League visits to London (W1 L7), with the only exception being a 2-0 victory against Palace in April 2015.
Just 21% of Christian Benteke's Premier League goals this season have come at Selhurst Park (3/14), the lowest percentage of home goals in the division (min. 10 goals). Benteke has scored a joint league-high six headed goals this season (same as Fernando Llorente, Michail Antonio, Olivier Giroud and Romelu Lukaku), while no side has shipped more headed goals than Hull (13, same as Sunderland).
Allardyce's side have failed to score in their last three Premier League games - he's not overseen a club he's been managing fail to find the net in four in a row since December 2009 while at Blackburn.
Whoever scores first here will win for me. If Hull do then you worry for Palace with their defensive problems. Swansea winning on Saturday would really put the pressure on here and Hull probably need a victory either way, which would drag Palace right back into it.
Sam Allardyce will be desperate for a win as they won't want the battle to go to the last game of the season.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (16/1 with Sky Bet)
Crystal Palace are favourites with Sky Bet at 21/20 to win, while Hull are priced at 5/2 and the draw is 12/5. The favourite to score first is Benteke at 4/1 while for the away side Oumar Niasse is seen as the most likely at 6/1. The Eagles are given an 18/1 chance of facing the drop, while Hull are priced at 5/1 to avoid relegation.