According to the bookmakers, Hull City’s Championship season is as good as over.

With the threat of relegation to League One dispelled long ago, odds of 66/1 are currently available on Nigel Adkins’ side securing a top-six finish in these last eight games. Promotion back the top-flight, meanwhile, is a 250/1 shot.

All perceived wisdom points emphatically towards City being a Championship club again in 2019-20 yet there is still an opportunity for this resurgent campaign a finale it deserves.

The chances are it will not be enough after collecting just eight points from the last eight games. The chances are that City will fall short of the play-offs by a margin similar to the six-point deficit they currently face.

Beginning with Saturday’s trip to Ipswich Town, however, the Tigers owe it to themselves to keep on fighting.

Hull City head coach Nigel Adkins
Hull City head coach Nigel Adkins

Who knows where it could lead? Bring three points home from Portman Road and then get the better of Reading and Wigan at the KCOM Stadium and City would leap up to 60 points.

That total would surely still be insufficient ahead of facing Middlesbrough, West Brom and Sheffield United, Swansea and Bristol City in the final five games but it would at least keep interest alive.

And that is all Adkins and his players can look to do over the coming weeks.

 

“I want to keep driving everyone on,” said Adkins after the costly second-half collapse saw his side draw 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers 10 days ago. “I don’t want to see us going through the motions and seeing the season out. I don’t want that at all.”

That has to start away to Ipswich this weekend. Against an opponent whose relegation could be confirmed as early as April 6, City need to find a first away win of 2019 to show they will not, to use Adkins’ words, go through the motions in the closing weeks.

The top-six might not come any closer as Aston Villa host Blackburn and Preston head to Reading, but City would show that thoughts have not begun to drift on the back of this current international break.

Hull City goalkeeper David Marshall (left) and Jackson Irvine share a joke
Hull City goalkeeper David Marshall (left) and Jackson Irvine share a joke

The incentive would also be there to find home wins against Reading and Wigan, two sides the Tigers would expect to beat. And to still be on the coat-tails of the top six with just a handful of games remaining would underline just how far this side has progressed.

To muddle through these final weeks would be a shame. This, lest we forget, is a campaign that had its objectives achieved when beating Birmingham City at the start of this month.

That was when City surpassed the Class of 2017-18 and also the moment that racked up a half century of points with 11 games to spare. Mission accomplished at a canter.

 

To take a seat, kick back and watch the final weeks pass by after achieving so much would not be a finale befitting the revival that unfolded through December and January.

A sensible aim is for City to target a top-half finish and see where that takes them.

Brentford and Swansea, both with their games in hand, will hope to make moves from below the Tigers’ current standing of 12th, but collecting three or four wins from these last eight games could well be enough to finish above the halfway marker.

Hull City players celebrate after Jarrod Bowen made it 1-0 against Ipswich Town.
Hull City players celebrate after Jarrod Bowen made it 1-0 against Ipswich Town.

The quicker they come, the longer this season can keep supporters engaged. No chance can just about become an outside chance again.

If this season takes on an enduring appeal it is because fans were reminded, albeit briefly, that there is fun to be had following your team. Those wins away to Leeds United and at home to Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday were an escape from the dark clouds that have so often hung heavy over the KCOM Stadium.

Only the naïve will predict their return can be avoided in a summer of cost-cutting but the next six weeks can still bring a temporary distraction to the seemingly inevitable. Although few will be prepared to argue with those bookmakers’ odds, there is more at stake than just that top-six finish being coveted by so many.