Steve Bruce's signings have been the key to Hull City's promotion push
Brad Rial is an 18-year-old journalism student from Hull. He is a season ticket holder at the KC and has been to around 200 Hull City games. Here he offers his opinion on the players who have helped push the Tigers towards promotion.
Despite Tuesday night’s defeat at promotion rivals Crystal Palace, the 2012/13 season has proved to be an excellent one for Hull City. An impressive 65 points from 36 games leaves them just 3 points short of their total for the whole of last season. The appointment of Steve Bruce is of course a significant factor, but there have also been a number of stand-out performers on the pitch.
The appointment of Bruce during pre-season was seen as something as a coup among City fans. After all, this was a man who had spent the vast majority of his career in the top flight, both as a player and a manager. It is therefore no surprise that City were able to attract such high calibre players. Sone Aluko, Ahmed Elmohamady and David Meyler joined primarily because of Bruce, having worked with him before during their careers.
The signing of Elmohamady in particular was inspired. Slotting seamlessly into the right wing back role, he proved an instant hit. His unerring ability to find a colleague with his superb crossing has been a hallmark of his play throughout the season. He has provided eight assists so far this season, and really is the perfect fit for the system City play.
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On the opposite flank, Robbie Brady has been every bit as important. Such was his form since arriving on loan in November, Bruce paid a hefty £2.5 million for his services in January, and he has looked worth every penny. Given his often erratic form while on loan at the KC last year, fans would have been forgiven for not getting too excited about his arrival. However, he has arguably been City’s biggest attacking threat in recent weeks, providing numerous assists with his direct dribbling and wicked delivery.
The system City play requires a certain type of player to fulfil the wing-back role, but in Elmohamady and Brady they have two players who definitely fit the bill.
At the heart of the City defence is an unlikely hero who has rightly taken all the plaudits this season. Paul McShane, much maligned for his performances in the past, has been nothing short of a revelation this season, and has gained cult hero status among fans. Alongside him, James Chester has been his assured self; his uncanny ability of timing a tackle is nothing short of superb and a future in the top-flight surely awaits him, be it with or without City.
Another of Bruce’s signings, Stephen Quinn, has started every single league game since his arrival from Sheffield United, and has proved to be a pivotal part of the way City play. His link-up play with Brady is marvellous to watch, and his protection of the ball while in possession is crucial to City’s passing style.
Arguably Bruce’s most exciting signing was Sone Aluko. Before injury ruled him out for the rest of the season, he was top scorer and probably City’s best player, and would have been a valuable asset to call upon in the closing stages of the season.
If City were to miss out on an automatic promotion spot come the end of the season, most people would have put it down to a lack of goals. However, if the 5-2 drubbing of Birmingham is anything to go by, City finally seem to have a ‘natural’ goal scorer. It is symptomatic of City’s woes in front of goal that Gedo became their joint third highest goal scorer at the weekend, despite only starting four games.
Three consecutive away defeats is, of course, disappointing. But with Gedo on form, and now George Boyd to throw into the mix, City seem to have the ingredients to ensure an exciting end to the season.