Two of Town’s Championship rivals, Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic, have been hit by the return of loan players.
Premier League strugglers Hull have recalled Tom Ince and Maynor Figueroa from loan spells at the two clubs to bolster their own options across the Christmas period.
Winless in 10 league games, the Tigers have slipped to 19th place in the table with only Leicester keeping them off the bottom.
And a statement on the club’s website announced: “Tom Ince and Maynor Figueroa have been recalled from their loan spells with Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic respectively.
“Both players will be available for selection for the Boxing Day fixture against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.”
Town, of course, are expected to lose striker Grant Holt back to Wigan Athletic after the Boxing Day trip to Rotherham and Sunday’s home clash with Bolton Wanderers.
England Under 21 winger Ince was a summer signing from Blackpool but barely made an impression on Steve Bruce’s team, save for a goal in the Capital One Cup defeat to West Brom, before joining Forest on a temporary basis. He played against Town in Forest’s 3-0 defeat at the John Smith’s.
But with Hatem Ben Arfa’s unsuccessful loan from Newcastle at an end, Ince will be given the opportunity to compete with the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Robbie Brady for first-team action.
Figueroa rejoined his former club Wigan in October and, like Ince, made six appearances during his loan spell.
The Honduras international has predominantly played at left-back in his Hull career but is likely to provide much-needed cover in the centre with Michael Dawson out for a month, Paul McShane out of favour and both Curtis Davies and Alex Bruce coming off with calf complaints in Saturday’s loss to Swansea.