Cardiff City v Hull City: Dawson is planning an action replay for promotion

FOR Andy Dawson, the similarities between Hull City’s push for the Premier League and the only previous time the club have won promotion to the top flight are striking.

With 12 games to go this season, the Tigers sit ninth in the table and just a victory shy of the play-off places – just as they were four years ago.

As with 2008, the Hull squad is also brimming with confidence during what was always going to be a hectic March due to a schedule that sees the team having to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday every week.

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Dawson, who along with manager Nick Barmby is the only surviving member of the team that won promotion under Phil Brown, said: “We are in a position where we need to kick on, like we were the year we went up.

“March is the ideal month to hit form. In the season we won promotion, I think we won six games out of eight or something like that.

“With games coming thick and fast at the moment then that means we have a real chance to do the same and push up the table. A good run can make all the difference now.”

Hull hit top form at just the right time in the Spring of 2008 as those final dozen games yielded eight wins and one draw to power the East Riding club up to third.

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The previous 12 games had also been profitable as Brown’s Hull lost just once and collected 20 points. This time around, Hull’s form since the turn of the year has been solid and they go into tonight’s game with play-off rivals Cardiff City on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run.

A one or two-goal victory tonight would, therefore, see the Tigers draw level with sixth-placed Cardiff and set up Barmby’s side for the run-in.

Dawson said: “We are happy to be in the position we are in, although every team always wants to be higher.

“The games are coming thick and fast; it is Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday more or less right through until the end of the season.

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“The onus is on us every game. They start to run out at this stage of a season, which means we have to go out and win them. Cardiff are in with us and it is in games like this that you have to pick your points up.

“When the games come as regular as this, the fans might start to think ahead but all we can do is concentrate on our next game. We can’t be thinking about who we play next week or next month, just the team we face next. Anything else is a distraction.”

After tonight’s trip to south Wales, Hull travel to Crystal Palace and Leicester City either side of a home game a week tonight against leaders Southampton. March will end with the visit of relegation-threatened Coventry City.

Dawson added: “The next few games won’t decide our season, but they will be massively important. Once you get to the end of March and you have six or seven games left, you will know where you are going to be at.”

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Hull have been held to goalless draws in each of their last three midweek games against Doncaster Rovers, Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United.

The fixtures were all at the KC Stadium, meaning the three stalemates could be considered as missed opportunities for Barmby’s men.

Dawson said: “Our midweek games have been similar recently in that afterwards we could have been talking about a 2-0 or a 3-0 win. The Leeds goalkeeper was the man of the match (a week ago), as was the case against Brighton.

“It was deja vu in that sense. It was also disappointing as we created the chances.”

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Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Ipswich was only the fifth time in 12 outings that Hull have managed to score, a record that has undoubtedly done damage to their push for a Premier League return.

However, Dawson said: “The good thing is we have been creating chances. We have top players in this side and if we keep doing that it will turn and it will happen.

“If we score early like we did against Bristol City (when Hull went on to win 3-0). That is something we are going to have to work on.

“We have been praised for our defensive record (Hull boast the best goals against record in the Championship with 28) and that is something we have done as a team.

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“The same goes with scoring goals, it is up to every one of us to chip in with goals. We need to chip in from set pieces and things like that because they will be important come the end of the season. I am due a goal, to be fair, and we all have to take responsibility and score from corners, free-kicks, you name it.”

Last six games: Cardiff City WLDLDW, Hull City WDDDDD.

Referee: G Scott (Oxfordshire).

Last time: Cardiff City 2 Hull City 0; September 11, 2010; Championship.