Jelavic’s return is looking key to Hull hopes of beating drop

Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic could be back in time to face Burnley (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic could be back in time to face Burnley (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
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A RUN-IN that takes on a more perilous look with each passing week is why many pundits have already written off Hull City’s survival hopes.

Steve Bruce appreciates that much. If he was looking at a rival and they had Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United still to play, the 
Tigers’ chief would probably believe such a daunting schedule meant getting out of trouble would be hard.

This, though, is Hull and the 54-year-old has sufficient faith in a squad he built to be confident about the final half-dozen matches.

“One or two clubs have moved themselves away from it in the last two or three weeks,” said Bruce. “A month ago, there were probably eight teams in trouble.

“But, if we are being honest, it now looks as though there are five of us. Obviously, we now aim to finish above at least three of those.”

Hull’s cause is not helped by Nikica Jelavic’s absence with a knee injury. Of the 28 points Hull have claimed this term, all but three came when the Croat was in the side. The Tigers have also failed since the opening day to win a game in which Jelavic has not found the net.

Bruce, who hopes to have Jelavic back to face Burnley on May 9, added: “There is no question it will be difficult. We have got six games left and, the way I see it, we are going to have to win two of those. We go to Crystal Palace on Saturday and we are capable (of getting a result).

“After that, it is four games at home and we are going to have to beat one of the big boys. The others have got difficult games, too.

“It doesn’t really matter if you are playing a side at the top, a side in mid-table or a side down at the bottom, they’re all difficult games.

“But we also know that we have got as good a chance as anyone of coming out of it right.