Hull City play host to Luton Town on Friday evening looking to end a run of four successive defeats in the Championship.
However, despite nine positions separating the two clubs in the standings, the Tigers will move ahead of their 11th-placed opponents with victory at the MKM Stadium.
When Hull started the campaign with eight points from four matches, their form was matching the level of ambition and investment of the club’s recently-arrived owners.
However, a run of five defeats in six matches have left Shota Arveladze’s team down in 20th spot, just one point above the relegation zone and with by far the worst defensive record in the division.
Hull have conceded at least twice in their most recent six games, the last three times without getting on the scoresheet themselves, and Arveladze may feel fortunate that he is still in a job.
The legendary Georgian has now recorded nine wins and 15 defeats from 30 matches in charge, putting him under substantial pressure ahead of an upcoming quartet of fixtures which will be deemed to be favourable.
Oscar Estupinan has scored all but four of Hull’s 11 goals in the second tier this campaign, and the Ecuadorian needs help in the final third if this team are going to make headway up the table.
As far as Luton are concerned, there will be a sense of relief that Brighton & Hove Albion quickly appointed a new head coach given speculation regarding Nathan Jones.
The link was somewhat of a surprise with Luton having struggled at times this season, but the Hatters have responded from a slow start to record 11 points from their last six outings.
Although a surprise home defeat to Wigan Athletic prevented more optimism from being felt from their recent run, a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers before the international break kept things trending in the right direction.
Ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, Luton now have the chance to move into fifth position, and they will be confident of doing so having emerged victorious in their last two away games in this division.
Tobias Figueiredo’s ever-present run in the Hull defence could come to an end after his poor performance against Swansea City last time out.
That may lead to an immediate recall for Alfie Jones, while Ryan Woods and Greg Docherty are both pushing for opportunities in central midfield.
Chelsea loanee Xavier Simons could come into the reckoning for the first time, but fellow Blues youngster Vale should retain his spot on the right flank.
With Amari’i Bell representing Jamaica against Argentina on Tuesday night, the left wing-back is unlikely to feature from the start of this contest.
Alfie Doughty could come into the team in his place, potentially representing the only change to the team which defeated Blackburn.
Hull City possible starting lineup:
Baxter; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder; Woods, Slater; Vale, Tufan, Pelkas; Estupinan
Luton Town possible starting lineup:
Horvath; Burke, Lockyer, Potts; Bree, Lansbury, Clark, Doughty; Campbell; Woodrow, Morris