By Harvey Byrne
Charlie Nicholas has predicted Hull will beat Newcastle 2-1 in their EFL Cup clash at the KCOM Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Sky Sports pundit believes that Robert Snodgrass will score first, helping his side to the semi-final stage of the competition.
It is a clash which will see the Championship top club take on the Tigers, who are struggling in the Premier League in 18th under manager Mike Phelan.
However, Nicholas believes that Hull will surprise some and earn a victory over Newcastle.
“It does surprise me that Newcastle are favourites to a degree, although given the way Thommo was talking about Hull, they hardly turned the corner by salvaging a draw against West Brom,” wrote Nicholas in his column for Sky Sports.
“The problem for Hull is that they can’t really rest anybody, which is worrying for their Premier League survival hopes, but means they have to pretty much go with their best team here.
“They seem to be having the most problems with their midfield, Tom Huddlestone dropped and Ryan Mason hauled off at half-time.
“Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez tried to play it clever by leaving out Dwight Gayle among others at the weekend and it backfired, with a troubling loss killing their momentum.
“In terms of value, Hull are appealing here as the outsiders in what I see as a tough one to call.”
Newcastle have won nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions, as they look to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
However, their most recent clash saw them suffer a 1-0 defeat against Championship side Blackburn on Saturday.
By contrast, Hull have won just two of their last nine fixtures and they battled to a 1-1 draw against Tony Pulis’ West Brom team at the weekend.
The Toon have not faced a Premier League team since suffering relegation last campaign.
Newcastle recorded wins over Cheltenham, Wolves and Preston to get to this stage of the competition and will be keen to show what they can do following last season’s disappointments.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez has given a critical verdict on Hull ahead of the clash.