Hull City 'two points behind' Steve Bruce target
STEVE Bruce admits Hull City need to play catch-up after the international break, but the Tigers boss is able to draw comfort from seeing his side within touching distance of the promotion pack.
A morale-boosting 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday gave City's campaign a timely lift after three consecutive defeats had threatened to sour a bright start to the season.
With almost a quarter of the campaign gone, Bruce can now take stock of his side's progress ahead of returning to action at home to Ipswich Town on October 20.
Only a point separates 10th-placed City from the top six, but Bruce admits self-inflicted defeats in recent weeks have seen the Tigers fall short of his own targets.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"For me we're two points behind where I'd ideally like to be," Bruce told the Mail, who has earned 16 points from his first 10 games as City boss.
"If you could get 20 points from every 10 games then you'd think you'll go up, and we set a target of 10 or 11 points from the last group of six fixtures.
"Unfortunately we've only picked up nine, so we're behind where I'd ideally like to be.
"Then again, when you look at the league we're only three points behind third.
"We know just how tight a division this is and all we can do is look after ourselves and make sure we keep collecting those points."
Since last month's international break followed a 3-1 win over Bolton, a six-game schedule has seen the best and worst of the Tigers.
Three wins, including excellent performances to sink Millwall and Leeds, and three defeats, including a 3-1 defeat at home to Peterborough, have contributed towards a hugely-erratic spell.
Bruce believes complacency may have played a part in their mini slump, but Saturday's spirited win at Sheffield Wednesday served to provide the perfect response.
Bruce said: "Maybe complacency had set in from as far back as the Millwall game really.
"I wonder if a few of the players, or the team as a whole, thought it was going to be easy.
"This division is anything but easy, it needs you to be on top of your game every week or you'll be tripped up.
"Last week was tough but thankfully the response was what mattered. A few people rolled up their sleeves and produced big performances."
Bruce's options are likely to be strengthened in time to face Ipswich in 11 days with the anticipated returns of James Chester and Alex Bruce from injury.
Robert Koren, who missed the weekend win at Hillsborough with a hip injury, is not considered to be a long-term problem, but Joe Dudgeon is waiting anxiously for scan results on his knee problem.
Dudgeon was examined yesterday after missing his first league game of the season.
Fears have grown that the 21-year-old may need surgery to cure a cartilage problem and that could result in a lengthy lay-off, so Dudgeon and Alex Bruce are unlikely to answer first Northern Ireland call-ups this week.