STEVE BRUCE admits his future as Hull City manager is “out of my hands” as the club today looks to breathe fresh life into the Premier League scrap for survival.
The Tigers head to Tottenham Hotspur knowing that only victory can leave them with a chance of going into the final day above the bottom three.
Newcastle United, who are one place above the relegation zone, sit two points ahead of City to underline the importance of the trip to White Hart Lane.
Bruce signed a new contract as recently as March and has no intention of walking away. However, the East Riding outfit’s perilous position means questions will be asked about his future if the worst does happen – as the 54-year-old is the first to admit.
“I sincerely hope so,” said Bruce, when asked yesterday if he would be at the KC next season regardless of what happens in these final two matches.
“But that is for others to decide. I have got the hugest respect for the owner, I still have.
“I am totally disappointed for him and the supporters but it is not over yet. That sort of question (about his future), I will tell you in a couple of weeks’ time because that is out of my hands.”
On his recently signed new contract, Bruce added: “We were discussing contracts for the best part of six months and the owners wanted me to stay.
“They were convinced we were going to be a Premier League team, I’m convinced of that too and I think that’s why they rewarded me with a new contract.
“Contracts and all the rest of it, it is not a time for me to think personally of myself.
“I have got the hugest respect for the owners and the supporters too. They’ve been fantastic towards me. The performance we put in last week (against Burnley), I have been at other clubs where they would have ripped the stadium apart. They have been terrific towards me.
“I haven’t really thought of myself just yet but I have got no thoughts of quitting or walking away, nothing like that. I just want to try to stay up.”
City’s preparations were rocked yesterday by allegations that Jake Livermore had tested positive for cocaine in a random drugs test that followed last month’s win at Crystal Palace.
Last night, both Hull and the FA suspended him.
On the pitch, Hull cannot be relegated today even if they lose to Spurs, Sunderland hosting Leicester City – sides who sit two and three points ahead of Bruce’s men respectively – sees to that.
However, the Tigers could – if they do not win in north London – go down on Wednesday when Sunderland travel to Arsenal for their game in hand.
For that to happen, of course, results elsewhere would have to all go against Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative. That, though, is exactly what has happened over the last two weekends – much to Bruce’s frustration after his side’s recent wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool.
“Against Liverpool, we shocked the world,” he said. “No one saw that or Palace coming because we were in a bad place.
“To be fair to the bottom clubs, especially Leicester, you wouldn’t have thought it would be possible for them to win six out of seven (as the Foxes have done). It’s Champions League form.
“Leicester are probably above Arsenal and Chelsea on form. All credit to them, they have had a wonderful run. These things can happen. But let’s hope there is still a twist for us.
“We have been to Anfield, we have been to Arsenal, we have been to City and got results this season. That shows we are capable, if we play to our maximum.
“If we do that and give it what we have got, I hope that will be enough to take it to the last game. That is all we can hope for at this particular moment.”
Of the teams above Hull, Newcastle look the most in danger of a revival by Bruce’s men. Last weekend’s draw at home to West Brom was the first point John Carver’s men have picked up in nine games and today they travel to already relegated QPR.
Asked about the Magpies, Bruce replied: “I have only concentrated on us and the accumulation of points you need. I always said 34 points would never be enough. I said, from day one, you need probably 10 wins and somewhere in the region of 36, 37, 38 points. And that looks like it is going to be the benchmark.
“There is now four teams in it realistically. Let’s hope by next week it is still the same.”
Nikica Jelavic could come back in after making two appearances from the bench since recovering from knee surgery for a second time this season.
Page 3: Big match preview.