A 1-0 reverse against Swansea took Hull’s winless run to ten matches and with the club sitting 19th at Christmas, the pressure on Steve Bruce is beginning to increase.
Despite the Tigers’ woeful form and desperate league standing, their boss remains an inexplicable third favourite in the betting to be the next manager to leave his post.
Bruce is available at 4/1 to be the first top-tier tactician of the season to be relieved of his duties behind 5/4 market leader Alan Irvine and 3/1 Nigel Pearson.
While the guillotine could easily fall on either of the frontrunners, the Hull boss is far from safe from the sack and if their search for a win stretches into 2015 the Humbersiders will surely opt for a backroom reshuffle.
With two excellent opportunities to snap their miserable streak on the horizon – their Boxing Day sojourn to Sunderland is followed by a visit of basement boys Leicester – failure to record at least one victory will be disastrous.
With owner Assem Alam, whose millions have reportedly saved the club from financial capitulation, looking to sell the club he can ill afford to see Hull fall through the Premier League trapdoor and an inability to beat either of these foes would suggest that’s exactly where they’re headed.
Unlike Gus Poyet, the man Bruce will be doing battle with next, a lack on investment is mitigation the Tigers boss can’t turn to in explaining his side’s poor form.
The FA Cup finalists spent a whopping £37.5m in the summer after forking out £25.7m upon winning promotion to the top-flight 12 months prior.
After such a sizeable outlay, sitting second bottom with almost half of the season played is a far from acceptable return.
Failing to advance beyond the Europa League play-off round is also another black mark against Bruce’s case to remain in a job given the discrepancy in standard between them and Lokeren, the minnow they were unable to beat in order to enter a European competition for the first time.
A disappointing campaign is hurtling towards a catastrophic ending, but with only two points separating Hull from safety as it stands, a change in the dugout could lead to salvation and this drastic measure is one they must be giving serious thought to.