Hull have been backed to make the Championship play-offs by Michael Appleton.
If not this season then certainly next.
Nick Barmby’s contenders have stalled in recent weeks ahead of tonight’s Fratton Park visit.
The Tigers have won just one of their last nine matches, drawing six of them.
It is a run which has seen them slip to ninth in the table, although just two points off a play-off spot.
Barmby possesses a young side made up of players released from the likes of Manchester United.
And Appleton believes they have the prodigious talent to maintain a play-off push even should they miss out this term.
He said: ‘Hull have a youthful set-up.
‘They have a couple of experienced players in there but a lot of the players have been brought in from some of the top clubs, players who haven’t just quite made it.
‘There is a decent spirit about them, as you can tell being a youthful set-up.
‘They don’t score a lot of goals but also don’t concede many.
‘Hull have had a frustrating period recently with one win in nine.
‘If Nick Barmby does manage to get them into the play-offs it will be a great achievement for himself personally.
‘And he will certainly want to try to push on and get them in the Premier League.
‘If not he gets another crack at it next year.
‘And if they don’t do it this season – in terms of the play-offs – they are going to be strong contenders next year because of the squad and its balance.
‘Tonight is going to be a difficult game for us. They are always well organised.
‘But we are on a little bit of a good run with our home games.
‘We always have done this season – apart from a couple of blips.
‘And it’s one we are looking to make the most of after the disappointment of losing at Coventry at the weekend.’