Hull City v Leeds United: Tigers boss Atkins facing some '˜brilliant' selection dilemmas for Whites clash
Perhaps just as significantly, the 2-1 win – thanks to goals from Jarrod Bowen and Nouha Dicko – provided relegation-threatened Hull with a badly-needed transfusion of confidence for their key Championship battles ahead.
With one eye on Tuesday night’s game, Adkins made eight changes, with the likes of Michael Dawson, Allan McGregor, Fraizer Campbell and Evandro rested along with Seb Larsson, who went into the weekend with the threat of a ban looming after picking up nine yellow cards so far this term.
The performances of those who stepped into the side have certainly given the Hull chief food for thought as he seeks to register the Tigers’ first league success in eight matches.
His stronger squad options, with a number of senior players now back in the reckoning, will further boost his hand and provide him the sort of selection issues that all managers hanker for.
Adkins, who voiced his determination to keep hold of star turn Jarrod Bowen, whose fine weekend performance was watched by a number of top-flight scouts ahead of the transfer deadline, said: “It is brilliant. It is exactly what we need. You want to be able to say during the course of a game ‘where’s the impact player coming off the bench?’
“Until recently we had a lot of youngsters, but now we are looking stronger. I can take Nouha Dicko off and we have got Fraizer Campbell or Will Keane to go on. Michael Dawson and Fikayo Tomori were the two defenders on there (bench yesterday).
“We have got Seb Larsson and David Meyler to come into contention in midfield. There is strength in depth there now. If you look at February and the month coming up, there is a lot of fixtures.
“We have got three games this week and I am not going to pick the same team for three games running, so you need that competition for places and you need players to be at it.
“We have got a spirit and a determination.”
Meanwhile, Hull goalkeeper David Marshall says that the Tigers will head into Tuesday night’s game with a renewed sense of positivity, while keeping his fingers crossed that Lady Luck shines upon the hosts against Leeds – which he believes it failed to do in the reverse fixture before Christmas.
Marshall said: “Winning games is good and it can become a habit as well as losing in the league. I think in the game at Elland Road, we played really well and could have been three or four up in 20 minutes.
“Hopefully, if we can play like that again, we can get a bit of luck and take three points.”