Bruce hopes Hull can stay injury-free

Manager Steve Bruce believes Hull's season could hit new highs in the next three days, but is praying injuries do not ruin the fun.

Hull manager Steve Bruce

The Tigers can give their survival hopes a major shot in the arm when they visit second-bottom Cardiff on Saturday before a quick turnaround sees them host Brighton in Monday night's FA Cup fifth round replay.

Bruce is ill at ease with the idea of playing twice in little more than 48 hours but accepts that two victories would leave his side with plenty to look forward to.

Barclays Premier League safety is the priority, and would move one step closer to reality with success in South Wales, while a home quarter-final draw against Sunderland awaits the winners of the cup clash.

"Can we get to 30 points and be in a cup quarter-final by Monday? It's all to play for and it would be a terrific boost for us all," he said.

"It's a big game every week for us, from the day we started at Chelsea to our first home game. They're all big games and Cardiff is another one.

"We could open up a huge margin over them, (effectively) nine points if you count the goal difference, then there's the chance to play for a home quarter-final.

"We're not exactly steeped in history and tradition of going to FA Cup finals or semi-finals, so it would be terrific for everyone concerned.

"Why can't we mount a challenge on two fronts?"

Despite his enthusiasm, Bruce concedes that the prospect of injuries remains an issue, particularly with so little recovery time between outings.

The Brighton clash cannot be played on Tuesday or Wednesday due to UEFA guidelines on Champions League weeks, meaning both sides will be crossing their fingers for a clean bill of health as well as a positive result.

"It's not easy playing Saturday, Monday; I think that's ridiculous," said Bruce.

"It baffles me. Footballers could play every day but they can't play with the same intensity.

"It's like asking an athlete to run a race and then do it again the next day in the same time. It won't happen.

"The thing you have to guard against, that we all worry about, is if you play more games you pick up injuries.

"Very rarely does it happen in training, most of them come taking part in games. If you put your first 11 out and lose two or three of them for the run in, you've got problems."

Hull have had their share of fitness problems already this season, but with Sone Aluko, James Chester and Liam Rosenior all back in contention this weekend things are starting to ease up.

Winger Robbie Brady is not so lucky, and could be set for another substantial lay-off after a stop-start season.

The Irishman enjoyed a fine start to the campaign, scoring four times his first seven appearances, but has featured only sporadically since then due to successive groin complaints.

"It's a struggle," said Bruce.

"He's got a new groin injury and he sees another specialist next week.

"I have to say it's not looking great for Robbie because this has been ongoing for the best part of the season."



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