JAMES CHESTER last night insisted Hull City can turn their season round with two wins from a run of three games over Christmas and the New Year period.
The Tigers slipped deeper into the relegation mire over the weekend after losing 1-0 at home to Swansea City.
It means they will travel to fellow strugglers Sunderland on Boxing Day in 19th position and badly in need of a lift after going 10 games without a win.
However, Chester believes a positive result at the Stadium of Light would then send Hull into an equally crucial encounter with bottom club Leicester City two days later in the right frame of mind to end 2014 on a high.
The Hull defender said: “The league doesn’t lie and we are now almost halfway though the season. We have to try to put things right to get out of trouble.
“It is difficult at the moment and these (next three) fixtures are massive. Before Swansea, we set ourselves a target to get ourselves out of the situation we are in.
“Unfortunately, it has not started the way we wanted. But over Christmas we have more games so, hopefully, we can turn it around quickly and start to see ourselves moving up where we want to be.”
Asked if he had a points target from the trio of games that will culminate in Everton’s visit to the East Riding on New Year’s Day, Chester replied: “As many as possible.
“We could do with a minimum of two wins from the three games to start seeing ourselves getting up the league.
“The bottom line is we need to just start winning games. That feeling will breed confidence and we will start seeing ourselves moving up the table.”
Swansea’s winner came via a fortunate deflection off Ki Sung-Yueng that took a shot from Jonjo Shelvey that was going wide into the back of the net after wrong-footing goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
As lucky as the deflection proved, however, there could be no doubt that the Swans were full value for the three points after twice hitting the woodwork and seeing McGregor deny Shelvey what seemed a certain goal towards the end.
Hull’s blank means they have scored just twice in nine games but Chester is adamant the tide will turn and believes the squad’s desire to stay in the Premier League will prove key in the coming weeks and months.
The defender, who missed just two of 46 league games in the 2012-13 promotion campaign, said: “We are finding it tough at the moment just to score goals. The games that we are losing, we are losing by one.
“If we just score a few more goals, we might not be in this situation.
“We scored a lot of goals at the start of the season and if we can find that form again then, hopefully, we can get out of it.
“The spirit is still strong. The lads who helped the club get promoted are still here and we all want to stay in this division.
“The Championship is one of the hardest divisions I have ever played in and it is not something I want to go back to.
“We worked tremendously hard to get into the Premier League and I don’t want it to be over as quickly as it could be.
“I think we’ve got enough in the team to get ourselves out of it, but if we don’t start getting results quickly it could be a long season.
“The big thing is we are all pulling in the right direction.”
Hull’s troubles on Saturday were not confined to another poor result, with Jake Livermore picking up a fifth booking of the season to rule the midfielder out of the trip to the Stadium of Light.
With Tom Huddlestone also suspended and Mohamed Diame injured, Steve Bruce’s options could be limited further due to injuries picked up by Curtis Davies (shin) and Alex Bruce (calf).
To boost numbers, Tom Ince and Maynor Figueroa have been recalled from loan spells at Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic, respectively.
One man, however, who seems unlikely to feature against the Black Cats is Paul McShane.
The Republic of Ireland international, who has not been involved since the November 8 defeat at Burnley, tweeted last week that he had been forced to train with the Under-21 squad.
Asked why that was the case, Bruce replied: “I could go to Twitter and tell you the reason why but maybe Paul can enlighten you why he’s with the Under-21s.
“I will never go to the media or to Twitter on things which remain in-house. Maybe he (McShane) will go on Twitter and tell the real reason why, then you will all know.”
Match report: Page 3.