Hull City must reproduce free-scoring form on travels, says Steve Bruce
STEVE Bruce has challenged his Hull City side to reproduce their new-found attacking prowess on the road when they face a stern test of their early-season promise this week.
A 4-1 win over Millwall fired the Tigers up to fourth in the Championship on Saturday and continued the club's most profitable opening to a campaign since 2004-05.
City's attentions quickly turn towards a trip to fierce rivals Leeds United tomorrow night, before a testing week on their travels ends with a reunion with former boss Nigel Pearson at Leicester City on Sunday.
Although flawless at home with three victories from three under Bruce, the Tigers are without a win on their travels since March.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
But Bruce believes trips to Leeds and Leicester will provide a valuable yardstick for his side's progress.
He said: "It's a big week now. Let's see how good we really are.
"Let's take the performance from this game and that has to be the challenge I set out for them.
"We need to go to Elland Road and have the confidence to take them on and play the way we can in an intimidating atmosphere."
City's preparations ahead of an eagerly-anticipated week could not have been better.
Picking up where they had left off before the international break, the Tigers produced a complete first half to demolish Millwall at the KC Stadium to record a second consecutive win.
Goals from Robert Koren, Jay Simpson, Aboulaye Faye and Sone Aluko saw City score four goals before the break for the first time since January 1999 when Hartlepool were picked apart at Boothferry Park.
Millwall eventually shored up their defence after half-time to limit the damage, but Bruce believes his side are a match for any team in the Championship when producing the "electrifying" football that thrilled the KC Stadium.
"Some of the stuff in the first half was terrific and there wouldn't be many teams who could have matched us hitting those standards," said Bruce.
"I want them to express themselves and play. Too often, in our country anyway, we get too nervous and edgy. We've got to try and encourage people to play.
"Of course when you take that approach you're going to make mistakes every now and again, but I'd rather have it that way.
"I enjoyed watching us and it's our job to entertain. We've got to be very pleased but it's only the start hopefully."
Bruce hopes both Seyi Olofinjana and Alex Bruce will be fit for tomorrow's trip to Leeds after they were withdrawn as a precautionary measure and he has vowed not to drift from the 3-5-2 shape that is reaping prolific returns.
"We'll go to Leeds and Leicester and have a go," he said. "One thing's for certain I'm not going to change it now.
"Teams are coming here and changing their shape to deal with us and they've come unstuck.
"The difficult thing for me was to change the mentality in the way we play but this system suits the players we've got here.
"And believe me, we've got some very talented players here. When Simpson, Aluko, Koren and Stephen Quinn play, they are a handful."
• 2pm UPDATE: Seyi Olofinjana will miss tomorrow's game against Leeds United with a hamstring injury, Hull City said this afternoon.