Sone Aluko: Play-offs are Hull City's minimum goal
SONE Aluko believes anything less than a top-six finish would constitute underachievement for a Hull City side with its sights set firmly on the Premier League.
A 2-1 win at Bristol City ended the Tigers' 47-year wait for victory at Ashton Gate and, more importantly, catapulted Steve Bruce's men back into the play-off places.
Although City have suffered blips in an erratic start to the campaign, Saturday's win was another stylish demonstration of their potential.
And Aluko, who opened the scoring with a beautifully worked goal, believes the opening quarter of the campaign shows the Tigers can be a force this season.
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"We believe that the more we play, the better we'll become," Aluko said.
"I believe that this is a team that can push for promotion.
"I'd be really disappointed if we're not up there because the players we've got here and the depth in the squad is a top-six team. It should be a very realistic target.
"Our philosophy is to keep the ball on the ground and play as a team. When it comes off, we're a handful for any side."
Aluko typified an encouraging return to form for the Tigers at the weekend following last week's limp defeat at Middlesbrough.
The 23-year-old needed just eight minutes to celebrate his recall when exchanging a series of passes with strike partner Jay Simpson and converting his fourth goal of the season.
An equaliser from Steven Davies drew the Robins level midway through the first half, but Cole Skuse's own goal was enough to deliver a seventh win of the season for Bruce's men.
City's win came with another excellent showing from Aluko, and he admits he has been pleased with the impact he's made since arriving on a free transfer from Rangers.
"You don't get a lot of time in football and when I came in I said I wanted to play regularly, score goals and create goals," he said.
"Once you say those things you've got to back it up. It's been a lot easier because of the team-mates I've got and the staff around.
"I set very high standards for myself and I've been happy.
"I look back and think about little things I could have done better, but if you'd have said at the start of the season where I'd be today, I'd have been very happy with that."
Aluko's man of the match display came after he had been dropped for the first time in City's loss at Middlesbrough four days earlier.
The Nigerian international duly came back suitably refreshed and he insists he had no qualms with squad rotation during a hectic period up to Christmas.
"We've got a very strong squad here. Aaron Mclean came on and scored, Nick Proschwitz came on and scored two, so they both deserved their chances," he said.
"There's a lot of games and they come thick and fast.
"There will be times when players are rested but when you get your chance you always need to take it. I was happy to get the goal. I don't honestly remember too much about it but everyone was telling me what a good goal it was."