Bruce urges young Tigers to earn their stripes

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Steve Bruce has challenged his young side to etch their names into Hull folklore by securing the three points which will guarantee they reach the Barclays Premier League today.

In their 109-year history the Tigers have dined at domestic football’s top table just once, 
between 2008 and 2010, and Bruce is looking for members of the current squad to align themselves with the club’s legends when champions Cardiff visit the KC Stadium. Despite failing to score in their previous three outings against the trio of clubs currently occupying the npower Championship relegation zone, second-placed Hull still have a slender one-point advantage over Watford who host Leeds knowing they must better the East Yorkshire outfit’s result.

Bruce said: “If you’re in football, these are the games that you [want to] play in. Which one of them is going to be the hero tomorrow? Which one is going to put themselves alongside the legends of what’s happened at the club in over 100-odd years No team before us in 100-odd years has been promoted automatically to the top flight so it would be a great achievement for them if they could do it.” Should they not secure three points, though, they will leave the door open for Watford. In contrast to Hull’s poor form, the Hornets’ automatic promotion hopes have been boosted by back-to-back wins over Blackburn and Leicester.

One of Hull or Watford will be in the play-offs with Brighton, while the race for the final two spots will go down to the wire. Crystal Palace may miss out on the play-offs altogether due to a nine-game winless run. However, with a two-point advantage and a superior goal-difference over Bolton and Nottingham Forest, a point against struggling Peterborough should be enough. The Trotters are in sixth, level on points with Forest, and host Blackpool while Billy Davies’ side entertain Leicester, who could also sneak in should they win and Bolton fail to.

The teams at the other end of the table are far more congested with two from six set to join Bristol City in dropping down into League One. Second-bottom Wolves look destined to secure the unwanted distinction of successive relegations. A win away at Brighton will not be good enough if either Barnsley or Peterborough grab a point. Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall could also be dragged into the mire.