Jack Hobbs hails bold boss as Steve Bruce leads Hull City into Championship top two
JACK Hobbs has hailed the impact of manager Steve Bruce as Hull City prepare to celebrate Christmas from the lofty position of second in the Championship.
Bruce has masterminded a splendid first half of his maiden campaign at the KC Stadium, winning 14 of his 23 league games and amassing 44 points.
Faultless progress through December, with wins over Nottingham Forest, Watford, Huddersfield and Derby County, has propelled the Tigers into the automatic promotion places and injected belief that 2013 could yet bring a Premier League return.
A bold switch to a 3-5-2 formation has been the catalyst for City to exceed all expectations and Hobbs gives a lion's share of the credit to Bruce for transforming a side previously hamstrung by its attacking failings.
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"It's really working well for us," said Hobbs. "We couldn't ask for more at the minute but the important thing is to keep building.
"Full credit to the manager and his influence. He's come in and been brave enough to use a new formation and brought in his own players.
"Now we look much more of a threat.
"Going forward was something we struggled on at times last season but it's great to be part of a formation that suits so many of us."
The latest chapter in a superb season came with a 2-1 victory at Derby County on Friday night.
Their fourth consecutive victory, and fourth on the spin away from home, briefly saw the Tigers climb joint top of the Championship, only for Cardiff to pull three points clear once more with a 1-0 win at Leicester on Saturday.
A 1-1 draw for Crystal Palace against Huddersfield and Middlesbrough's 2-1 loss at Leeds preserved City's grip on second spot, and sets Bruce's men up for a mouth-watering Boxing Day clash against Leicester at the KC Stadium.
The odds on City winning promotion have been slashed in recent weeks and Hobbs admits the current run of form has been a joy to behold.
"It's great to be up there because it's where we've wanted to be," he said.
"Confidence is soaring. We're doing really well but at the same time we've got to make sure we keep doing the right things.
"There's plenty of us here who have played in the Championship for a few years and we're well aware how quickly it can change.
"We know we have to keep our feet on the ground."
While City's sharpened attacking edge has won acclaim this term, a stoic defensive effort has seen Bruce's men leak just three goals in their current run of five games unbeaten.
Hobbs, fit again after an eight-month lay-off, was part of a besieged defence late in the victory at Derby and said: "I'd like to think we're playing our part. Other than Derby's goal, which was a great strike, and a few blocks, I don't think we allowed them to create too much.
"Our defensive effort owes a lot to the work-rate from the midfielders, as energetic as they are, and the full-backs that get up and down covering thousands of metres. That probably makes it a bit easier for us at the back."