Hull City at Middlesbrough: 'Selfless' Tigers can win promotion, says Andy Dawson
ANDY Dawson believes a selfless team spirit within the Hull City camp ensures Steve Bruce's men are fully equipped for a promotion challenge this season.
The Tigers head to Middlesbrough tonight hunting a third consecutive victory after back-to-back wins sparked a leap back into the Championship's top six at the weekend.
A heartening reaction to three straight losses has been made all the more encouraging by the depth evident in Bruce's squad in recent outings, with a clutch of players justifying their recalls after lengthy absences.
Among them has been club captain Dawson and he says the "tight-knit" nature of the City ranks bodes well for a successful campaign.
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"There's 46 games in the Championship and it needs to be a squad effort," Dawson told the Mail.
"Everyone will get their chance, whoever it is, and all you can do is to try and take it when it comes.
"With the injuries and players coming back in over the last few weeks, it shows that the squad is very tight-knit.
"It showed that when people aren't playing they're training hard to make themselves ready to come back in. No one's sat around moaning or sulking.
"It shows there's a good team spirit because everyone's pulling in the right direction for the club, whether they're playing or not."
Now in his 10th season with the Tigers, with a testimonial year set to be launched on November 21, Dawson has been made to wait his turn to impress Bruce.
A thigh injury initially scuppered his hopes in August, allowing Joe Dudgeon to impressively grab the left-back berth until injury struck the rookie down after the 3-2 loss to Blackpool.
A subsequent change in system, with City reverting to a 4-4-2, has helped Dawson assume the position he has made his own over the last decade, but he insists he could have no complaints when out of the side.
"I've been at Hull City for a long time now and, first and foremost, I want the club to do well," he said.
"It's not about individuals. When it's like that, that's when you've got problems at your club.
"I'm old enough and wise enough now to know how football works.
"The team, with Dudge included, were playing fantastically well and all I could do was to concentrate on training hard every day.
"I know how quickly football can change and when you do get your chance, you have to be ready."
For all Dawson's success with the Tigers, including three promotions in 2004, 2005 and 2008, the veteran leads City to Teesside without a win in the club's four trips to the Riverside.
Not since 1986 have City won away at Middlesbrough but following Saturday's 2-1 win over Ipswich, Dawson says confidence is high.
"We've never had a lot of fortune there so let's hope that will change," he added, ahead of tonight's seventh versus sixth clash.
"There's never much between the two sides but we always seem to come out on the wrong side.
"We've got lads full of confidence who are sticking together, so there's no reason why we can't go there and get three points."