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Meet the newest Premier League sides - Hull City

Hull City have come roaring back to the Premier League after beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Wembley on Saturday for the final promotion spot.

The Tigers have joined Burnley as a side who have bounced straight back up to Premier League after just one season in Championship exile, while following Middlesbrough back to the promised land.

After a fourth-placed finish at the end of the regular season in England's second tier, the Tigers had to do it the hard way to secure their passage back to the English top flight. They disposed of Derby County 3-2 on aggregate before a long range stunner from Mohamed Diame meant they narrowly beat the Owls in the richest game in world football, to cement their spot back among the elite.

Under manager Steve Bruce, who has steered the club for the past four seasons, and with a well-rounded squad, Hull ensured their stay in the Championship was a short one.

Offloading 19 players in pre-season and bringing in just seven, Hull were willing to make the squad sacrifices a division drop demanded. Smart loans including that of Arsenal's Chuba Akpom who netted seven times across all competitions, showing the Tigers knew where and how to pounce in the transfer market on a budget.

An undefeated pre-season tour set the tone for a strong first half of the season as Hull lost just twice after 17 games played. A five-game winning streak in late October put them in an enviable position a third of the way through the campaign.

Despite this hot form cooling somewhat for the remainder of what would be a patchy season, a strong finish blemished only by a 1-0 loss to cellar dwellers Bolton, meant the Tigers sealed a play-off spot with a finish of fourth after 46 games.

In the first leg of their play-off with Derby, it was their top scorer Abel Hernandez who again led from the front by opening the scoring in a 3-0 away win. Hull were outplayed in the second leg at home but managed to keep the deficit to just 2-0 to ensure an aggregate win and their spot in the Wembley decider.

At the Football Association's headquarters, Hull faced Wednesday who had done well to capitalise so much on their sixth-placed finish by successfully navigating Brighton & Hove Albion, who where only behind automatic promotion winner Middlesbrough on goal difference. But it was Hull who dominated with Diame taking his season tally to double figures at the right time and in spectacular fashion from distance to secure a top flight return.

Play-off heroes Diame and Hernandez were season-long inspirations for the Humberside outfit as the Tigers rediscovered their bite in front of goal. Hernandez was a constant threat up front, scoring 21 times in the league, while former West Ham United man Diame provided four assists and netted a handy ten goals of his own.

With the second best goal difference, Hull was a very well-rounded team this season.

First-choice keeper Allan McGregor kept 19 clean sheets and saved a vital penalty between the sticks. While stand-in gloveman Eldin Jakupovic, who featured at Wembley, did well too when called upon throughout the season as he kept three clean sheets across the five Championship games he played.

In defence, flying right-back Moses Odubajo was a shrewd pre-season acquisition as aged just 22, showed he has bright future ahead of him winning 76% of his tackles and maintaining a passing accuracy of 78% across the season. Another 22-year-old at the back, Andrew Robertson, proved his worth going forward scoring three times and nabbing four assists from left-back.

When healthy, Robert Snodgrass was a menace in midfield as he struck four times and assisted seven goals in the 27 games he played. English midfielder Sam Clucas was also a crucial cog in the middle of the park managing eight assists and six goals over the campaign.

Up front, it was very much a one man show with Hernandez but Akpom, Sone Aluko and summer signing Adama Diomande all chipped in here and there as they provided nine goals between them.

Hull's last season in the EPL saw them finish 18th, three points adrift of safety. A relegation that came after an FA Cup final loss the season before, which in turn saw Hull juggling Europa League qualifying during their quest to survive.

Arriving back in the bright lights of the Premier League, Hull City is a team capable of adding plenty of bite to the competition. A bite that will be all that more damaging willing they can hold on to star Uruguayan striker Hernandez and dynamic midfielder Diame who have been attracting glances from elsewhere.

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Joshua Thomas
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