STEVE BRUCE may not quite be sure if a game between two clubs separated by 65 miles can be described as a ‘derby’.
But the Tigers manager is in no doubt as to the importance of today’s trip to Hillsborough as the two clubs look to recover from recent slumps in form.
City make the trip on the back of three straight defeats, a run that has seen Bruce’s men slip from fourth in the table to 10th. Wednesday, meanwhile, only managed to end a losing streak at the seventh attempt with the midweek draw at Burnley.
Bruce said: “We have had a couple of bad results lately. The performances have been okay but it is results that we need.
“Errors let us down again in midweek (as Blackpool came from behind to win 3-2 at the KC Stadium) and we have to cut them out.
“If we do, we have already seen this season what we can do. We just need to get back to that way of playing.”
The visit to Sheffield will evoke memories among the City fans of the night in December, 2004, when their side triumphed 4-2 in front of a travelling army of almost 6,500 at Hillsborough en route to clinching automatic promotion from League One under Peter Taylor.
Much has changed since then for both clubs with Hull having had a two-year stint in the Premier League. Wednesday have twice won promotion from the third tier in the past eight years, the most recent success coming just last May when Dave Jones’s men finished second.
Bruce said: “I am not quite sure if it can be called a ‘derby’. Maybe the Yorkshire Post is better qualified to decide on that than me. All I know is this is a big county and that the atmosphere at Hillsborough should be a good one.
“Like Leeds a couple of weeks ago, it isn’t too far to travel and we should have a good number of our supporters there. Let’s hope we get the same result and performance because the fans certainly enjoyed that night at Elland Road.”
On today’s challenge, he added: “They have practically a new team compared to last season. A lot of signings were made in the summer.
“Like ourselves, they have had a few disappointing results lately. The key is to stay positive when results go against you. No-one panics and that is how you play yourself out of a dip in form.
“Dave Jones will know that as much as the next man. He has been in football a long, long time and he has also been successful.”
Bruce, whose side have lined up with a 3-5-2 formation recently, will revert to a back four today after losing both James Chester and his son Alex to injury.
After switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland, Alex Bruce has been called up by Northern Ireland for the the World Cup qualifier with Portugal.