Hull City v Huddersfield Town: Black Cats’ self-inflicted misfortune over Bruce proving lucky for Tigers

Hull City's Stephen Quinn (left) and Newcastle United's Loic Remy battle for the ballHull City's Stephen Quinn (left) and Newcastle United's Loic Remy battle for the ball
Hull City's Stephen Quinn (left) and Newcastle United's Loic Remy battle for the ball
HULL CITY midfielder Stephen Quinn insists Premier League rivals Sunderland will rue the day they sacked Tigers manager Steve Bruce.

The Black Cats are searching for their sixth full-time manager in under five years following Sunday’s axing of Paolo di Canio, one of several to pay the price for poor runs of form on Wearside.

Given the hugely impressive job done by Hull boss Bruce, rejected by Sunderland back in November 2011, many fans are entitled to think that the club made a big mistake in dispensing with his services just 13 league games into the 2011-12 campaign.

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Some would go further and suggest it has backfired spectacularly.

But Sunderland’s loss has unquestionably proved Hull’s gain, according to Quinn, with Bruce taking the Tigers back to the Premier League in his first full season in charge at the KC Stadium.

The East Yorkshire club have so far made a fair fist of things back in the top flight.

Bruce enjoyed a sweet victory at the weekend against Newcastle United at St James’ Park – where he endured his toughest day as a manager when his Black Cats side crashed 5-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby in October 2010 – and Quinn said: “The gaffer is brilliant.

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“He is vastly experienced and makes all the boys in the changing room so relaxed and shows belief in us.

“Credit to him what he has done here since he has been at the club. It’s been unbelievable.

“He got sacked from Sunderland, which was an unbelievable decision when you look back at it now. Hindsight is a great thing, but I bet they would love to have him back there now.

“He is also a realist and knows what he is about and where he is from and he’s an honest guy and everyone was delighted for him (on Saturday).

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“He just keeps us calm all the time and said on Saturday, ‘well done, see you Monday’. The gaffer has us set up really well for this league.

“The Newcastle result had been coming. Coming back from behind showed the character we’ve got. The manager came in at half-time and he’s so wily and experienced; he got us all to calm down with our boots off. He just spoke to us saying, ‘Just show a bit more belief in what we are doing’.

The Tigers switch focus to the Capital One Cup tonight against another of the sides that Bruce has managed, Huddersfield, with the Hull chief likely to make a number of changes with his over-riding priority being Premier League survival.

The likes of Allan McGregor, Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Sone Aluko, Curtis Davies and Robbie Brady, who have all made a telling impact in the opening month of the campaign, are likely to be rested ahead of Saturday’s home game with West Ham United.

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Quinn, who started his first league game of the season in place of the injured Robert Koren in Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 victory at Newcastle, has paid particular tribute to the form of his fellow Irishman Brady, a revelation so far this season.

Brady netted his third goal of the campaign at the weekend with the former Manchester United player having impressively rebuilt his career after leaving Old Trafford for the KC, initially on loan.

Quinn said: “Robbie’s been brilliant. I’m delighted for him as he’s a top lad. When he left Manchester United, he maybe got a bit of criticism for dropping down and maybe he didn’t cut it at United.

“But I know, having played with him, that he’s got everything.

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“He’s got the ability to rip this Premier League up and show Man United that they’ve lost a really shrewd talent there. If he shows a bit more belief in himself, I am sure he will fly this season.”*

Quinn is the first to admit that tonight’s cup business is not top of Hull’s agenda, but progression would add to the growing feel-good factor present all the same at the club.

The midfielder himself is also conscious that opportunity knocks for him to establish himself in the Tigers midfield following Koren’s unfortunate injury as he seeks to make a belated impression following a hamstring problem.

He added: “Yes, the cup is important, but I am not sure it’s of major importance for this season. The Premier League is what it’s all about.

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“Some of the lads who haven’t been getting chances will be in on Tuesday. We definitely want to progress, but our main aim is the Premier League.”

Last six games: Hull LWDLDW, Huddersfield WWLDWD.

Last time: Hull 2 Huddersfield 0; December 15, 2012; Championship.

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).