English Premiership

Relegation threat looms large for Hull City

2015-05-14 13:08
Steve Bruce (AP Photo)

Manchester - Hull City started the season competing in Europe for the first time in its history and could end it by dropping out of the English Premier League.

The offseason last year was full of optimism for the northeast club, which spent freely in the summer transfer window and was buoyant after qualifying for the Europa League through reaching the FA Cup final.

However, the side managed by former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce has struggled to meet rising expectations and fell into the bottom three last weekend. Hull has two games to escape relegation and its chances are bleak.

Hull is third from bottom, above already-relegated Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, and two points from safety with games remaining away to Tottenham Hotspur and at home to Manchester United.

"We have got a mountain to climb," said Bruce, who last summer broke the club's transfer record to sign Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez and also brought in Hatem Ben Arfa, Mohamed Diame and Gaston Ramirez - big names for a club the size of Hull - to bolster the squad for a season in Europe.

That didn't work out, though - Hull didn't even progress past the Europa League qualifiers.

Of the four other teams battling to avoid the drop, Leicester, Aston Villa and Sunderland have started to pick up form and victories. Leicester, for example, has won six of its last seven matches to climb off last place and move three points clear of trouble.

Newcastle, which is fourth to last, is the side most likely to get dragged down if Hull can earn an unlikely win in its final games.

Newcastle visits QPR on Saturday and finishes at home to mid-table West Ham.

With the title wrapped up and the Champions League qualifiers all but confirmed, most of the focus in the last two weeks of the Premier League will be on the fight to avoid relegation.

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