Joe Dudgeon wants upbeat Hull City to recapture right balance between defence and attack
WHERE once Hull City's maverick 3-5-2 formation was credited with ravaging any opponent that stood in its way, back-to-back defeats have drawn the first question marks over Steve Bruce's bold approach.
Just as Leicester City had exposed the Tigers to record a 3-1 victory nine days ago, the Championship's bottom club Peterborough United repeated the scoreline on Saturday to end City's 100 per cent home record.
When Blackpool visit tonight, Bruce has vowed to keep faith with the system that sparked fireworks, and Joe Dudgeon believes City need to recapture the right balance between defence and attack.
"The football we're playing is brilliant and the lads going forward have been amazing," he told the Mail.
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"Most of the time we've been solid at the back as well but it's about getting that balance right, especially at home.
"With the fans behind us, the natural reaction is to attack and get as many goals as we can.
"But at the same time we've got to be clever and composed. With the experience we've got at the back through Abdoulaye Faye, it's vital that we listen to him.
"He lets us know when we're being too attacking and sometimes we've got to be more defensive and solid for a few minutes while the game settles down."
Dudgeon has more reason than most to want continuity from City.
The 21-year-old has been in excellent form in a left wing-back role and, following a spell on the periphery for much of last season, he has returned to cement his place in Bruce's plans.
Dudgeon, along with Ahmed Elmohamady on the opposite flank, is now pivotal to the success of City's attack-minded shape and he believes there is still more to come from both himself and the Tigers.
"I'm getting more comfortable with every game," he added.
"Obviously, at first it felt a bit unusual to play there because I've always been a lot more defensive.
"To be given that licence to attack a lot of the time was odd, but I feel as though I'm getting better all the time.
"With the formation we have, we don't have much natural width so it's the wing-backs who have to provide that as well as the defensive cover.
"I enjoy it because I'm still doing my job as a left-back but also being part of the attacking side."
City are still stinging from their surprise loss to Peterborough as they prepare to host Blackpool tonight.
On their way to dominating long periods of the game, the Tigers racked up over 600 passes against their lowly guests, a figure that dwarfs their usual return of approximately 400.
It counted for nothing, though, as slack defending allowed Emile Sinclair to snatch a match-winning hat-trick and inflict a first home defeat on City since March 31.
Blackpool, too, are in need of a lift after a previously fine run of form.
Back-to-back losses to Huddersfield and Cardiff have left them in seventh, level on points with City in eighth.
Dudgeon is wary of the threat facing City, but believes it is the Seasiders who should be most concerned.
"Blackpool are a good side and we can't take anything for granted from them," he added.
"After two defeats they're going to need the three points as much as us.
"But with us being at home, where our performances have been excellent, they should be worried.
"If we can start well early on and put our chances away, there's no reason why it can't be another great performance."
CITY'S defensive line will be forced into a change tonight, with James Chester ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring strain.
Although Liam Rosenior is under consideration, Paul McShane appears the most likely to deputise on the right of a three-man defence.
City boss Steve Bruce said: "It's a shame to lose Chester, but I've got two options. I've got Rosenior and Paul McShane. I'm toying with that to see which way I go."