West Ham the away benchmark for bullish Cotterill

Dave Kitson is available again for the trip to Hull
Dave Kitson is available again for the trip to Hull
Carl Baker was left out of yesterday's match squad

Baker’s Pompey future set to be decided

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Steve Cotterill eyed a second successive away trip and insisted: Hull won’t be tougher than West Ham.

The Blues head to the KC Stadium for another difficult fixture.

His side have faced four of the current top six in the opening six fixtures of the season.

That included last weekend’s visit to title-favourites West Ham.

Pompey produced an impressive performance, yet still came away with a 4-3 defeat.

Ultimately, Liam Lawrence’s dismissal and a controversial penalty against Jason Pearce proved decisive.

That heralded a first home win of the season for Hammers, a side with a £35m wage bill and many people’s prediction to win the league.

Now Pompey are limbering up for a journey to East Yorkshire.

Cotterill has Dave Kitson back in his squad following illness. Yet Benjani is likely to keep his place as the central striker.

Pompey’s boss doesn’t believe this fixture will be any more difficult from the one they encountered last weekend.

He said: ‘Wherever you go in this league is tough.

‘There are no easy games – we know that – but it won’t be any tougher than at West Ham last week.

‘We equipped ourselves well up there.

‘Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result on the day but who is to say we won’t get the result tomorrow?

‘They’ve had a few 1-0 wins so obviously they have not given much away, kept clean sheets and gone and got the winning goal.

‘There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

‘Twenty-five of those 1-0 wins will get you promoted.’

Hull are currently ninth, having won three of their opening six fixtures.

Surprisingly, just one has come at home – a 1-0 win against Reading.

That is also the only goal scored by Hull at the KC Stadium in all competitions so far this season.

Scoring remains a problem for Pearson’s shot-shy side.

Nonetheless, Cotterill is full of respect for ex-Southampton manager Nigel Pearson.

And he believes he is performing a fine job.

He added: ‘Nigel Pearson has done a good job with them since he’s been up there, he’s a good man and I look forward to seeing him and doing battle.

‘Our paths have crossed. I’ve known him for a long time now and pretty much the managers you come across you have come across them all anyway.

‘He’s a top bloke, a real football man, a good guy. He’s got Craig Shakespeare as his assistant who is another top guy.’