Promotion hat-trick is targeted by Bruce

STEVE BRUCE believes the days when Hull City could slip completely under the radar in a Championship promotion race are over.

The Tigers kick off their league campaign at home to Gus Poyet’s Brighton and Hove Albion and hopes are high of a push for the Premier League.

Traditionally, Hull are often overlooked by the national media with even the promotion success of 2008 under Phil Brown seeming to take the country by surprise.

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But Bruce believes summer signings such as £2.6m striker Nick Proschwitz mean Hull are now among those expected to challenge this term.

He said: “We will always be under the radar a little bit because of where we are geographically. But that can be a decent thing as there isn’t possibly the major hype that you get with other big city clubs.

“While being under the radar can help sometimes, I don’t think it is necessarily the case with Hull City this season. There is a bit of expectation about what the club can do.

“Myself walking through the door probably raised a few eyebrows, while the money we spent on Proschwitz will have done the same.”

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Today’s visit of Brighton marks Bruce’s return to a division he last graced in 2007 when leading Birmingham City to promotion, the second time he had taken the Midlands club into the Premier League.

He added: “I haven’t been in the Championship for a while but what I have seen is the enthusiasm of the players.

“This is a young squad that is desperate to learn and desperate to do well. We can help them along the way.

“Has the Championship changed? I’m not sure, because it has been such a long time since I was involved. But you look at all the teams with a big history who are in the division and it will be good. That was one of the reasons I came.

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“When the offer came in, my response was, ‘Why not?’ I’ve had good times in the Championship before so let’s hope we can do that again.

“It can be a slog. What did we do at Birmingham? The team I put together was big, strong, physical and tough. We were like that in the Premier League, too.

“I’ve twice won promotion from this division. Let’s hope we can make it a hat-trick.”