THERE is a candid admission from Fraizer Campbell that it was not always “easy to keep the faith” with Hull City manager Nigel Adkins when things were not going to plan earlier this season.
Granted, they are still far from flying now, but there has been a significant improvement of late, a run of just one loss in seven games seeing them finally edge clear of the Championship relegation zone.
Another victory against struggling Brentford today would see them usurp their opponents from 18th spot at least and encourage further shoots of recovery.
Patience has been key as Hull’s one-time England striker revealed the Tigers’ camp now feels a brighter place to be.
“It’s been pretty good the whole time,” he insisted.
“We’ve got a good bunch of lads here and we’ve all been pretty consistent, but it does make a difference when you have a few wins.
“Everyone is that little bit happier. It is good.
“Confidence is growing. People are starting to pick up form, doing well, scoring goals, and it all breeds confidence.
“But we can still do even better and hopefully we can start by getting another win on Saturday.”
Before this current run Hull had gone 11 games with just one victory to leave plenty of fans believing they might be heading for League One.
Adkins stayed true to his beliefs, nonetheless, and reminded his squad that he was adamant they were on the right track even if they may have been unsure themselves.
“Yes, it’s not easy to keep the faith when results aren’t going your way,” conceded Huddersfield-born Campbell.
“But it’s small margins in this league; you can play the same way in a few games and get beat and probably play worse and win.
“It’s about keeping on the same track, moving forward, all working together and we’ll keep getting results if we do.”
Just as Hull are improving, so is Campbell on a personal level.
The 31-year-old former Manchester United forward, hampered by injury on his return to the club last season, has just picked up the supporters’ player of the month award for November. He garnered three goals in as many games during it, including a brace in the 3-3 draw at Birmingham City and the winner in the 1-0 success against West Bromwich Albion.
Campbell, who commanded a £3.5m fee when leaving United for Sunderland in 2009, appreciates the acknowledgment of his efforts.
He said: “That’s one of the main things about it; sometimes your hard work goes unnoticed, but on this occasion I got that achievement and am very happy.
“I’ve not been injured or anything and had a good pre-season in me and I feel good for it.
“I’m really happy to be playing, playing well, scoring goals and it’s nice to be back doing that again. But the team’s been doing well and that makes my job a lot easier. The team’s been playing better in recent weeks. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
To do that the East Yorkshire club will need the former Cardiff and Crystal Palace player to bring not only all his strike potential to bear, but also his vast experience as they continue plotting their way to safety.
He is wise enough to realise that Brentford, for all their turgid form, will not be benign visitors to the KCOM Stadium this afternoon.
They have won just once in 14 league games since September and, among that run, lost 17 points from winning positions, more than any other side in the competition.
However, in Campbell’s eyes that only tells half a story.
“When you look at last season as well and the stuff they play, they do play some really good football,” he continued.
“Sometimes that’s the way it is – you don’t get the rub of the green – but I don’t believe they’re a bad team in the slightest.
“On their day they’re up there with the best of them. We’ve got to be careful not to think they’re on the bad run and it’ll be easy.
“We won’t be like that at all. We’ll have to be the best we can be and hopefully that will get us the game.”
The hectic festive season is approaching, an often critical time that can make or break a club’s season.
With that in mind Hull’s fixture list looks inviting; they face Swansea City and Preston North End, who are not far above them in the table, and then after an admittedly difficult derby at Leeds United will host second-bottom Bolton Wanderers on New Year’s Day.
Campbell maintained: “This time of year there’s a lot of games coming up so it’s always difficult to think, ‘we’ll definitely win this game or we might struggle in that’ as the teams are all so similar now.
“It’s going to be a tough run of games… the amount of them, fatigue, injuries and that sort of stuff will all affect games.
“We’ve got a chance – and probably a better chance – of winning some football games, but you can’t take any of these for granted.”
Following his player-of-the-month exploits, Campbell has drawn a blank so far in December and gone three games without a goal.
“I’ve not scored in the last few games now, but I still believe the next game I’ll go out and score,” he maintained.
“It helps when you’re on a run, but at the same time you’ve just got to be positive and believe if a chance does come you’ll take it.”
As the campaign nears its halfway mark, Campbell predicts greater progress in 2019.
“A few months ago I’d love to be a lot higher up the table, but we’ve found ourselves in a sticky situation and done well recently to get out of that,” he said.
“Now you look towards doing even better than that and not being involved in a relegation battle.
“For us it’s about picking up points where we can and try keep as consistent we can.”