The lads have kept me safe for a while - Bruce

ONLY one side has been relegated from the Premier League after being in the top half of the table at the turn of the year.

Hull City manager Steve Bruce

Norwich City are the club holding this unwanted distinction, the Canaries having suffered such a spectacular slump in form during the second half of 1994-95 that they crashed into the Football League despite going into the New Year’s Day programme sitting seventh.

A nightmare run of 12 defeats and just one win in the final 20 games of that campaign saw the East Anglian club finish third bottom. That stunning collapse may be seen as a cautionary tale by some Hull City fans as they wait to bid farewell to 2013 with their side 10th in the top flight.

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However, to those Tigers whose pints will be half full at midnight and not half empty, surely the most pertinent statistic is that in the 20 other seasons of the Premier League no other team has suffered the same fate as Norwich. They will feel the second half of the coming season is one to look forward to rather than fear.

Steve Bruce, for his part, falls somewhere in the middle of those two schools of thought with the Hull manager insisting there is still plenty of hard work to be done before the Yorkshire club are safe.

“I always said we needed to win 10 matches this season,” said Bruce, fresh from masterminding Hull’s 6-0 demolition of Fulham at the weekend. “Well, we have six and how difficult has that been?

“We are halfway there, we are top of our own mini-league to be in the actual top 10. From us downwards, we are all looking over our shoulder.

“We would be lying if we said we aren’t because there are big teams with big squads. As a newly-promoted team, we have done very well.

“The two others (Cardiff and Crystal Palace) have sacked their managers (Malky Mackay and Ian Holloway respectively). Others have gone, so for these lads to get us halfway keeps me safe for a while.”

The impending start of the transfer window has led to speculation that Bruce plans to make another attempt to sign West Brom’s Shane Long.

He said: “January is a difficult market, whether you are Hull or Manchester City.

“But if someone is available then, make no mistake, I will knock on the door.”