Hull City manager Mike Phelan is yet to decide his line-up for the Premier League clash against Arsenal on Saturday (17 September), as some of the club's new signings stake their claims to feature in his plans. Phelan has suggested former Norwich striker Dieumerci Mbokani may finally make his debut against the Gunners.
The Tigers made six additions to the squad at the tail-end of the transfer window, with record signing Ryan Mason joining alongside Will Keane, David Marshall, James Weir, Markus Henriksen and Mbokani. But Phelan is yet to give a starting berth to any of them, going with an unchanged line-up for the opening four games of the season against Leicester City, Swansea City, Manchester United and Burnley.
The caretaker boss's decision has paid off so far as the Tigers have taken seven points in the process, winning the first two games of the campaign and only losing to United due to an injury time winner from Marcus Rashford.
Following a 1-1 draw against Burnley, Phelan is now considering his options against Arsenal.
"The players who have had the shirts recently are in the box seat because they have been performing and it's up to them to continue with that," Phelan stated in the press conference ahead of the Gunners' visit. "The one thing we have now is a great squad. Whether we change or not tomorrow will be a decision I have to make. We've got three immense games coming up and I'm sure those will test the squad to the full.
"They say patience is a virtue. I have plenty of it and I hope the players do too. We have players who can come off the bench and contribute to a match now and we can use that to the full."
Mason and Keane made their debuts in the weekend draw with the Clarets after coming from the bench in the second-half. Phelan now suggests that the game against Arsenal could be Mbokani's turn to feature as he believes that the former Norwich number 9 can play a big role for the Tigers this term.
"Dieumerci is available and he will be part of the group," Phelan confirmed. "He's had ten days to understand what this place is all about and he has fitted in well.
"The reason we brought him here is to add something a bit different. We haven't had a target man at this club for a while. We have four strikers here now who can all offer different things and give us a bit of variety. Dieumerci is one of those who can change things if we need it."
Phelan has no fresh injury concerns from the team that drew with Burnley, but long-term absentees Michael Dawson, Allan McGregor, Alex Bruce, Moses Odubajo, Greg Luer and Brian Lenihan remain on the sidelines.