Steve Bruce praises Hull City's team spirit after Watford win
STEVE Bruce believes Hull City's unrivalled away record is borne out of an insatiable will to win after the Tigers completed a brilliant hat-trick of victories on their travels.
A 2-1 win at Watford on Saturday, courtesy of goals from David Meyler and Robbie Brady, was City's third on the spin away from the KC Stadium, after their previous successes at Birmingham and Nottingham Forest.
With five victories in their last seven away games contributing towards a tally of 19 points, no side in the Championship can match the Tigers' impressive efforts on the road.
Such form has helped City bounce up to fourth in the table ahead of three home games in the last four fixtures of 2012, and Bruce says the run owes everything to the togetherness of his troops.
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"It tells you something about the players we've got. There's a fantastic spirit amongst them," he said.
"I said before the game that you can look around the dressing room and look at them all knowing this lot will roll their sleeves up and have a go.
"They're an absolute delight to manage. You come to the Championship and there's a refreshing honesty. Sometimes in football clubs you get these horrible egos with some of these prima donnas. We don't have any of that, I wouldn't put up with it."
Watford became the latest victims of City's excellent away record as the in-form Hornets suffered their first defeat in eight games.
After Meyler had given the Tigers a deserved first-half lead with a close-range header, Robbie Brady's whipped free-kick doubled City's advantage.
A stoppage-time consolation from Troy Deeney provided brief anxiety but Bruce's men were full value for a victory that propels them to within three points of the top two.
Although the Vicarage Road win came at a cost, with Paul McShane limping off midway through the first half, it also marked the long-awaited comeback of Jack Hobbs.
The central defender was an able replacement for McShane after eight months out with cruciate ligament damage, and Bruce was delighted to see him in competitive action.
Bruce said: "I decided to put him on the bench on Thursday because he's a terrific professional. He's done so much to get himself back.
"He was caught a couple of times on the turn but overall you would never know he's been out for eight months. That's testament to him and the people we've got at the club who have worked so hard to get him back."
City expect to learn more on McShane's shin injury today after scans, but he appeared to be a major doubt to face Huddersfield this weekend when leaving on crutches.
Although not considered to be a serious injury, McShane would join leading goalscorer Sone Aluko on the sidelines if he fails to recover. Aluko has received an injection into his troublesome Achilles and calf strain and is now targeting a comeback for the Boxing Day clash with Leicester.
"Sone's had an injection and we hope that does the trick. That'll be anything between 14 and 21 days," said Bruce.