Tigers are in shape to continue push for play-offs

WITH a 250-mile trip to come and the clock ticking towards 11pm, Hull City’s team coach was still sat outside the main entrance of Cardiff City’s new stadium on Tuesday night.

The Tigers squad usually plan to be on their way home within 45 minutes of the final whistle of a midweek away game but the demands of the drug testers had delayed them.

Nick Barmby and his players could, therefore, have cut frustrated figures as they waited in the car park for the final team member to emerge and allow the driver belatedly to start the engine.

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Instead, the Hull players and management looked the very embodiment of relaxation with a couple even nipping off to a nearby fast food outlet for supplies ahead of the long drive home.

The reason was simple: Hull’s magnificent 3-0 win over Cardiff meant that nothing, not even an unexpected delay, could wipe the smiles off their faces.

Certainly, manager Barmby had much to be happy about following the manner in which his side had disposed of a team who had started the night in sixth place.

A couple of days on, the Hull manager remains rightly proud of Tuesday’s efforts in Cardiff but he has added a caveat: Do it every week.

Ahead of today’s trip to Crystal Palace, Barmby said: “We had been playing well. I know when you draw a few games that people don’t necessarily look at the performance.

“But I thought our first-half display against Leeds had been good. Over 90 minutes against Cardiff, though, we played possibly the best we have all season.

“The players did everything I asked. The shape was good with the wide men tucking in and that made us hard to break down.

“Cardiff are a very good side with very good players who can pick teams off at any time.

“But our shape was so good and our application meant that we beat them.

“It was all over the pitch that impressed me. There was a lot of good movement and that was why I didn’t single anyone out. Every player played his part.”

The win in the Welsh capital was enough to nudge Hull back into the play-off spots. Barmby added: “We know what we can do and the thing is we just need to keep doing it week-in, week-out.

“We have some dangerous players and when we get the shape right then it can mean a good blend.

“We want to be in the mix and if we keep working hard then we are a dangerous side to play.”