Bolton calamity will give Hull City 'kick up backsides', says Steve Bruce
STEVE Bruce wants his Hull City side to use a sobering defeat to Bolton Wanderers as a wake-up call ahead of the final straight of the Championship promotion race.
City's excellent run of three consecutive wins came to a shuddering halt when beaten 4-1 at the Reebok Stadium.
Conceding three goals inside a disastrous opening eight minutes, the Tigers fell to their heaviest defeat since August 2011 to relinquish their grip on second spot in the Championship.
Bruce admitted his disappointment in a "horrible" defensive effort by his side.
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But he hopes a reaction will follow when they welcome former club Birmingham City to the KC Stadium this Saturday.
"What's said in dressing rooms should remain there but sometimes there's nothing like a defeat because it can kick a few up the backside and bring you back down to earth again," said Bruce.
"I was angry with them but I think I had every right to be. That hasn't happened very often.
"We were sloppy, untidy and we were punished. We gave away bad goals, which we've prided ourselves on not conceding.
"Our response to going 3-0 down showed why we're a team who is up there challenging, so we dust ourselves down and look forward to another big game this weekend. "
Bruce's men will head into March third in the table, level on points with second-placed Watford.
Despite conceding just three goals in their previous five away games, the floodgates opened inside the opening eight minutes as Darren Pratley, Mark Davies and Craig Dawson put the Tigers on their way to suffering their first defeat in four games.
Robbie Brady's deflected free-kick offered hope of a second-half comeback, but Dawson's second put the contest beyond doubt.
Bruce struggled to make sense of City's below-par effort and said: "I don't think anyone was getting carried away. We had a bad start. You can analyse it as much as you like but it's a horrible start. Normally we've been rock solid and that's given us a platform but that just didn't happen.
"Twelve points from six games in February is still a wonderful return. It could have been better but it wasn't our day."
Bruce was still able to draw one positive from a miserable afternoon, praising the impact of new boy George Boyd, who was introduced as a 60th-minute substitute.
Signed on loan from Peterborough United last week, Boyd becomes the last piece in City's jigsaw and could be in line for a first start against Birmingham.
"I thought he was a breath of fresh air," said Bruce. "He gave us an energy in the final third. You could see straight away he is a very strong technical player who likes to make things happen.
"The beauty of him is that he can play in any system. It's a squad that you need at this stage and I'm sure there will be an opening for him. He could be key to us."