Steve Bruce insists wins are key, not how Hull City play in season's finale
STEVE Bruce accepts his Hull City side must be willing to abandon their footballing philosophies and target victories at any cost during the final months of the season.
City welcome Charlton Athletic to the KC Stadium this afternoon bidding to cement their footing in the Championship's automatic promotion places with a second home win of the week.
A dramatic 2-1 triumph against Derby County on Tuesday night saw City climb from fourth to second in the division and, under Bruce's instruction, adopt a more direct style on a testing KC surface.
The change of tack in midweek secured a first home win of 2013 and Bruce is again willing to see his troops prioritise substance over style when Charlton arrive for the second installment of a pivotal week in their promotion bid.
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"You can forget all about performances at this time of year, it doesn't matter," Bruce told the Mail.
"You're not necessarily looking for the team to play well, you have to go and get the result. If you can play well then great, but it's not what matters now.
"We're almost at the end of February. After these next few days at home, it's one more game in February and we're then looking at March.
"So it's vitally important that we can pick up another couple of wins to keep it going.
Bruce added: "Even the great teams have to change from time to time. There's nothing wrong with adapting or being flexible, you just have to hope you get it right as a manager."
Although five of the Championship's top six are in action on FA Cup fifth round weekend, third-placed Leicester, City's nearest rivals, will again be kicking their heels today.
A point would be enough to ensure City hold on to second spot ahead of fourth-placed Watford, who travel to Birmingham, while Crystal Palace play host to Middlesbrough in the battle of fifth against sixth.
Back-to-back wins for City for the first time since Christmas would also open a 13-point cushion above seventh and the sides chasing the play-offs.
Bruce is playing down the significance of holding down second spot with a third of the season still remaining, but knows victory over Charlton would apply pressure on the sides clinging to their coat-tails.
"I don't think the tickly bit has started quite yet," said Bruce.
"When you get into single figures of games left, that's when you really start looking at the tables.
"Maybe the end of March after the international break, that's when it becomes huge.
"At the same time if we can go and put a few points on the board then all the better.
"It would be nice to go six points clear of Leicester, for example, so it's a great chance for us."