Michael Dawson banking on a '˜magnificent seven' to take Hull City up

MICHAEL DAWSON admits Hull City cannot afford to drop another point during the run-in if they are to keep any hopes of automatic promotion alive.

CONFIDENT: Hull City's Michael Dawson. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA.

The Tigers suffered a crushing blow in their quest for a place in the top two when crashing to a 4-0 thrashing at Derby County.

With Middlesbrough and Brighton both winning and leaders Burnley being held at home by Cardiff, Steve Bruce’s men sit seven points adrift of the top two.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It is a huge gap and one that is put into perspective by Hull being closer to seventh-placed Cardiff than Boro in that all-important second promotion berth.

Despite that and a run of just one victory in seven league outings, Dawson believes all is not yet lost and that a magnificent run of seven victories during the run-in can still send them up. “It is a big dent in what we are looking to achieve,” said the defender ahead of Hull’s weekend trip to Huddersfield Town.

“But, being seven points behind with seven games to go, if we win seven games – and it certainly looks like we are going to have to do that to close the gap – then that is what we have to try and do.

“Derby was a bad night. To concede four was devastating. But we move on and look to Huddersfield. We have seven games to go and we have to win all seven.

“It is a big ask, but we looked at things before Bristol City. There were nine games then and I thought we would have to win seven.

“With the players we have got, we can go on that kind of run. Derby was a big dent in our challenge. Losing games always dents confidence. We’d been on that run and then came back with a good performance against Bristol City. It is do-able.

“We have games we can win. But, to do so, we have to perform better than we did at Derby.”

City’s run-in does not appear too arduous. The highest-placed side Bruce’s men have to play is Wolves who sit 12th.

Hull also face the teams currently sitting 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th before rounding off the campaign against fourth-bottom Rotherham United and soon-to-be relegated Bolton Wanderers.

It is far from the most daunting of run-ins but such is the club’s lack of form that supporters are glancing nervously over their shoulders.

Sheffield Wednesday sit one point behind City with Derby a further point back in sixth. Four more points separate the Rams from Cardiff.

Asked about the possibility of missing out on even a play-off place, Dawson said: “That is not a concern at this moment in time.

“We stumbled against Derby. It was a big stumble. But I have said all season that I back the players. I back them all and I always will.”

Considering City have spent just three days outside the top six all season and the six-point cushion the club has over Cardiff, it would take a spectacular collapse to slip out of the play-offs.

The Tigers still need a lift in the wake of the worst league defeat of Bruce’s near four years in charge at the KC Stadium.

To achieve that and keep any hopes of a push for the top two alive, Hull must banish all memories of what was a wretched night at the iPro Stadium.

For 29 minutes, the contest was even but then Curtis Davies slipped and the Rams ruthlessly exploited the situation to take the lead when Bradley Johnson fired into the net.

Former Leeds United midfielder Johnson added another before the break and then Moses Odubajo’s red card for a professional foul 10 minutes into the second half all but ended any hopes of a fightback.

Dawson added: “It was a mistake for the first goal. Sometimes, you make a mistake and get away with it. Unfortunately, as a team didn’t. When it went 2-0 it meant we went in at half-time with what we deserved.

“In the second half, we were chasing the game and things got a bit too spread. The sending off meant there was only one team going to win.”