Hull winger Stephen Hunt is bracing himself for a Manchester United backlash tomorrow.
United travel to the KC Stadium looking to get back to winning ways in their Premier League title defence after a surprise 3-0 defeat at Fulham last weekend.
Injuries have forced Alex Ferguson to play midfielders in defence in recent weeks and United are again light on numbers, but Hunt still expects the visitors to provide fearsome opposition.
The Republic of Ireland international said: “It is a good game to be involved in, playing against the champions, but there is no good time to play United.
“It’s probably a bad time to play them, to be honest, after they lost to Fulham and need to get back on track.
“I don’t know whether they will have any players back or not but either way it is a very difficult game. We will have to play a very good game to win.
“They may have one off-day but it is unlikely they will have two off-days in a row.
“Once they get past the Champions League group stages their league form seems to pick up and they get stronger and stronger through December and January. Hopefully we can stop them in their tracks.
“It will be hard for us but hopefully we can play our best and we will see where that gets us.”
The Tigers face a quick turnaround with another, arguably more important, game against relegation rivals Bolton on Tuesday.
It is not a schedule that concerns Hunt.
“The atmosphere is good and there is a really positive feeling about the place,” the 28-year-old said. “Hopefully we can take that into the new year with a couple of wins.
“Two games in three days is difficult but the adrenaline and the importance of the second game against Bolton – there will be no problems there.
“They are tough games ahead. Our home form has not been too bad and they [United] lost, so that maybe gives us a bit of confidence.
“But we have just got to concentrate on playing well and we’ll see how it goes.”
Hull were beaten 3-0 on their last outing against Arsenal last week, a game marred by an unseemly fracas involving 21 players.
Hunt insists the result and performance at the Emirates Stadium were far from demoralising and confidence remains high.
“We can pick ourselves up,” he said. “They are a top-four team and, win or lose to them, you have to dust yourself down and move on.
“We are at home now to the champions and we look forward to it.”