Hull City boss Steve Bruce wants side to confirm status as genuine promotion contenders
HULL City boss Steve Bruce wants to use the next seven days to confirm the Tigers' status as a genuine contender in the race to reach the Premier League.
A confident start to the campaign has lifted the Tigers to fifth in the Championship and, despite losing 3-1 at Leicester last weekend, they remain within touching distance of league-leaders Brighton.
A chance to make up lost ground will come with three games inside the next eight days, as Peterborough's visit today begins a busy run-up to the international break.
Another home game follows with Blackpool due at the KC next Tuesday, before next weekend's Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday, and Bruce wants to see their top-six residency extended into October and beyond.
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"The onus is on us now to get back to winning ways and two home games is a great opportunity," Bruce told the Mail.
"We've got a good record at home this season and the next week will be huge before the international break.
"Almost a quarter of the season will be gone by the end of next week, we've got to pick up enough points to make sure we stay in the top six because that's where we want to stay.
"It would be a good achievement to reach the quarter mark of the season in the top six. That's a decent start for any side."
With Peterborough and Blackpool heading to the KC, City's 100 per cent home record will face a test of its longevity inside the next four days.
Victories over Brighton, Bolton and Millwall this season have given the Tigers their most profitable start to a home season since 1983-84 and Bruce wants to see their high standards matched as they look to bounce back from their Leicester setback at home to Peterborough.
"If we're going to go and mount a challenge, then our home form needs to be key," Bruce added.
"We've done very well at home so far, let's hope we don't slip away from those standards in the next two games coming up.
"We need to go and play like we did against Bolton and Millwall. There was a freedom to our play that made us hard to play against.
"If we get to those levels there'll not be many teams who can beat us at the KC.
"But that's the standard we must hit because if we don't, and play like we did at Leicester, Peterborough will have a chance."
Bruce will take his place back on the touchline this afternoon after he spent the closing stages of last weekend's trip to Leicester ruefully looking down from the stands.
Dismissed for contesting a decision late in the game, he escaped further punishment from the FA when "reminded of his responsibilities" in a letter this week.
"I've had a wrap on the knuckles and I'd better make sure I behave myself now," he added.