STEVE BRUCE insists there will be no let-up from Hull City even if safety is assured today after revealing a mid-table finish could make all the difference on his ability to sign Jake Livermore permanently in the summer.
The Tigers, 13th with three games remaining, travel to Aston Villa knowing that a draw will be enough to guarantee the club’s Premier League status. Even defeat could leave Hull uncatchable if other results go in their favour.
Despite that and City having an FA Cup final to plan for a fortnight today, Bruce is adamant that his side must finish as high as possible to bring in increased prize money. Each position is worth, on average, more than £1m with the team finishing 12th – realistically as high as Hull can go – getting £10.1m in prize money alone compared to the £5.6m dished out to whoever finishes 16th.
Bruce said: “I will pick the strongest team I possibly can against Villa. If we are safe (after that), then, of course, there is a big week in the build-up.
“But, also, in the back of the mind is the fact it would be nice to finish 12th or 13th. We have budgeted to be 20th, so anything on top of that might help me bag Jake Livermore, for example.
“The prize money at stake is probably the difference between me getting another player. For that reason, it is important that we stay where we are.”
Livermore joined City on loan from Spurs in the week before the season got under way in August and has proved a vital addition.
Bruce added: “The first piece of business I will try to do is to secure Jake if I can. But he is Tottenham’s player, so we have to enter negotiations with Tottenham and we will do that when we are safe.”
National newspaper speculation this week suggested the Tigers may be on the verge of offering Bruce a new contract.
On the back of what will be the club’s best season in history, the City chief admits to being open to talks. “I have got a contract which goes into a 12-month rolling contract in June. It is up to the people who employ me (if a new deal is offered).
“But I am very happy here. Why shouldn’t I be? Supporters need not worry on that score. If they want to secure it longer than that, it is up to them. It’s their call. Everybody likes a pay rise.”