Barmby accepts Hull face challenge after two defeats end year on a low

NICK BARMBY admits his Hull City side face a “test of character” after ending 2011 with two straight defeats.

The Tigers host Derby County today sitting sixth in the Championship despite following the 1-0 Boxing Day loss at Middlesbrough with an identical scoreline at Burnley.

As with the game at the Riverside Stadium, Barmby was left frustrated by the lack of a killer instinct among his troops in a game that saw Hull create 14 goalscoring opportunities and their opponents Burnley just eight.

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He said: “The lads were frustrated but I am sure they will bounce back. It is a test of character for them now and I don’t believe it will be a job to lift them.

“We will dust ourselves down and get ready for what will be a tough game against Derby at home. The good thing is we are creating chances, though we can’t keep saying that without finishing them off.”

Barmby’s frustration was added to by the only goal of the New Year’s Eve game at Turf Moor coming courtesy of a mix-up between Peter Gulacsi and Jack Hobbs.

Gulacsi was the more culpable of the two with his initial hesitation leading to the confusion that allowed Martin Paterson to nip in and score what turned out to be the winner on 34 minutes.

Barmby said: “We have done well at the back but it was a soft goal to give away and the lads know that. I won’t lambaste them because they know what went wrong.”

Ahead of today’s game against the Rams, who have claimed a maximum six point haul from festive fixtures against Leeds United and West Ham United, City have a major injury worry due to Gulacsi being forced out of the Burnley defeat with a knee injury. Liam Rosenior, though, will be available after serving a one-game ban.

Barmby is keen to strengthen in the transfer window but does not expect any business to be done before today’s 3.0pm kick-off at the KC Stadium.

One of Hull’s priorities is extending the loan stay of Manchester United winger Robbie Brady until the end of the season, though it is believed they could be facing competition from a couple of Premier League sides.

Asked about Brady, Barmby said: “We are speaking to Manchester United all the time. We want him but it is not our decision at the moment.”

As Hull host the Rams today, Burnley will again be taking on Yorkshire opposition in the form of Leeds at Elland Road.

The Clarets, beaten 2-1 by United at Turf Moor just a few weeks ago, moved up to seventh in the table with the win over the Tigers.

Manager Eddie Howe, who could be without defender Ben Mee today through concussion, said: “Leeds is a really tough place to go.

“It is a great atmosphere at Elland Road and it will be a tough game.

“What happened at Turf Moor (when Robert Snodgrass grabbed a 2-1 win for Leeds in the final minute of the game) was not a nice feeling.

“We played really well that day and lost, it was unjust. We want to try and forget that game and look at this fixture positively. The lads can’t wait.”

Match report: Page 4.