THE famous Aesop’s Fable about ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ will not be lost upon Hull City loan winger Marc Pugh.
Part of a Bournemouth side who were down among the dead men at the foot of League One after a sluggish opening third of the 2012-13 season, Pugh played a leading part in the Cherries’ express charge which ended in automatic promotion on the final day of a see-saw campaign.
It was further proof of football’s delightful capacity to conjure strange stories over the course of a long season and the Lancastrian is not giving up hope of his current side providing another compelling late tale.
Second-from-bottom in late November, Hull are currently six points adrift of the Championship play-offs with 12 games to go, with a much-needed 2-1 midweek win over struggling Millwall retaining their interest – allied to a surprise home loss for sixth-placed Bristol City.
Such is the way of football that a week which started terribly amid the fall-out of Saturday’s 5-1 humbling at Brentford could yet end on a high, should Hull beat another side who also harbour hopes of gatecrashing the play-offs in Birmingham City this weekend.
Stressing that plenty can still happen between now and the afternoon of May 5, Pugh – who netted the Tigers’ key second goal against the Lions – said: “When I was in League One with Bournemouth, Eddie Howe left and then he came back and we were 19th in the league and went on a 22- or 23-game unbeaten run and ended up finishing in second and getting promoted.
“Anything is possible if you get a good run together and get the confidence. Who knows.
“I have spoken to a few of the lads here and it is just all about believing and confidence. You can have the best players in the world, but if they are low on confidence, they cannot be successful. You have got to be able to push in the same direction.”
Tuesday’s win was all the more laudable given that the Tigers’ morale had taken a pummelling three days earlier at Griffin Park, the club’s heaviest defeat under the stewardship of Nigel Adkins.
Negotiating a way past an obdurate Millwall side scrapping for their lives represented a further fillip, with Pugh’s first league goal since April 2017 – in his maiden league start for Hull – proving a vital contribution.
Anything is possible if you get a good run together and get the confidence. Who knows.Marc Pugh
Operating in a No 10 role, Pugh shared centre stage with form wingers Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, with the former taking his tally to a head-turning 17 so far this season after netting the hosts’ opener.
As someone who is well qualified to speak about what is required in a successful modern-day winger from his time in the top-flight with Bournemouth, Pugh believes that Bowen possesses all the prerequisites to prove a success there one day.
Pugh, 31, who is keeping his options open regarding his own future, with his loan deal running until the end of the season, added: “Jarrod is always willing to learn and it is important he does not rest on his laurels as he has had a great season so far and just needs to keep working hard as he has been doing and I am sure he will play at the top level.
“As a winger in the Premier League, you need to have some engine on you and that is massive when you play against the likes of (Manchester) City and Arsenal.
“His goalscoring record speaks for itself and it is important he carries on that and does the best he can for Hull City.
“Who knows what will happen in the summer.”