AFTER a frustrating February, Hull City embark on a manic March tonight with Nick Barmby confident his players can cope with a gruelling schedule.
The Tigers are due to play nine times in the next 30 days as they play catch-up with the rest of the Championship after seeing a host of games either postponed or moved due to opponents being involved in Cup competitions.
City, who can move back into the play-off places with victory tonight at promotion rivals Blackpool, sit two points outside the play-offs and Barmby insists his players are ready for the challenges that lay ahead.
The Tigers manager, whose side did not have a game last weekend due to Cardiff City being involved in the Carling Cup final, said: “The lads are really looking forward to the month of March with all the games coming up because this is what you want to be involved in.
“They are fit and game ready and by this stage of the season there is not a lot left you can coach. You have just got to be a little bit cute in your selection but the lads are bursting to play games. I can’t ask for any more than that.”
Playing just three games in February and two of those finishing as goalless draws is why Hull travel to the seaside outside the top six.
But Barmby added: “The position we are in now, the teams above us can’t keep winning all the time. It is an impossibility so we have got to be there to pounce on the other results.
“Having said that, we are not a side that will rush in after every game to see what the opposition have done. We need to take care of ourselves.”
City lost against Blackpool on the opening weekend of the season in an encounter that was also shown live by Sky but Barmby is adamant that result will have no bearing on tonight’s encoutner.
He added: “The first game of the season could have gone either way really but we will go there and give them a good game, I can guarantee that.
“It hasn’t surprised that they are doing well. Even when they have had a few dodgy results, he doesn’t move away from his beliefs. That is fantastic.
“You have got to get results against every side but pitting your wits against someone like Blackpool, who are also going for promotion, makes it a very big game.”
Last six games: Blackpool WDWLLW, Hull City WLDWDD.
Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).
Last time: Blackpool 2 Hull City 1; September 3, 2007; Championship.