Hull City v Blackburn: Focus on three points - not DJ Campbell
HULL City boss Steve Bruce says he will have no axe to grind when DJ Campbell and Blackburn Rovers arrive at the KC Stadium tonight, insisting he has far greater issues to focus the mind.
The Tigers will attempt to strengthen their grip on second spot in the Championship tonight by completing the perfect week on home soil, but Campbell's visit provides an intriguing sub-plot as City aim for a third win in eight days.
Just 19 days ago the striker was accused of treating the Tigers with "contempt" and "a lack of respect" when an 11th hour change of heart saw him snub a deadline day switch to City in favour of a move to Ewood Park.
The controversial episode infuriated Bruce but he insists the Campbell sideshow will not distract his promotion-chasing side.
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"It's gone, we're over it and we've moved on," Bruce told the Mail.
"Our only focus is on keeping our promotion challenge going.
"I've got no problem with DJ Campbell and the decision he made, I said that all along, it was the way it was all handled by his representatives.
"We felt there was a lack of respect and that left a very sour taste in the mouth.
"I was furious at the time and made my feelings clear, but football has a habit of moving on very quickly and it's not something that will be in my mind.
"We've given ourselves an outstanding chance of doing something special this season and that's all that matters to me."
Although Campbell was eventually forced to wait for his move to Blackburn to be completed on an emergency loan, he has joined a late push for promotion at Ewood Park.
Under Michael Appleton's fresh leadership, Blackburn have made a dart up the Championship table to eighth and continued their improved form with an impressive 1-0 win at Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday.
City have momentum of their own with back-to-back wins over Derby County and Charlton Athletic, but Bruce views Blackburn as a dangerous opponent on their path towards promotion.
"We'll face a very good Blackburn side who have settled down and are playing well," said Bruce.
"I'm sure quite a few teams in the top six are looking over their shoulders at them because they're coming up on the outside now.
"They've got one of the strongest squads in the Championship on paper and spent a lot of money bringing it together. But, as always, we'll focus on doing all the things that have put us in such a great position over the last six or seven months and look to keep a great week going.
"The group of players we've got are focused on the task in hand.
"They know they've worked hard to put themselves in this position and are desperate to keep it going from now to the end of the season."
Bruce will need to make at least one change for tonight's fixture, with Paul McShane ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in the 1-0 win over Charlton. Alex Bruce appears set to drop into defence and leave a hole in midfield for Corry Evans to fill.