HERNANDEZ PROVES HE’S AN ABEL TIGER
ABEL Hernandez has left a lot to be desired since becoming Hull’s record signing, but Steve Bruce believes he’s finally coming into his own, with fellow forward Nikica Jelavic poised to leave the KC Stadium.
Bruce revealed two other clubs had shown an interest in Jelavic, with the transfer window poised to slam shut on Monday, and left the Croatian out of the matchday squad for this victory over Preston as a result.
Hernandez had opened his account in the 2-1 defeat at Charlton but claimed his second here when a clearance from Neil Kilkenny hit him and went in to give the Tigers a first-half lead.
Centre-back Curtis Davies netted Hull’s second to wrap up the win late on, and Bruce insists both the goalscorer and Michael Dawson were colossal at the heart of defence.
“Abel has scored two in a week,” said Bruce. “One came off his backside from a yard and the other was a tap-in from a yard.
“You can see he’s handling life better at the club and getting used to it. I’m still convinced we’ve got a very good player on our hands.
“I also thought my two centre halves were terrific, absolutely terrific.
“We had a bid late last night for Jelavic, two clubs have shown their hand.
“And with that going on I didn’t think it was right to play him. If Jelavic leaves us I’ve got to go forward with the players who are going to be staying here.
“We will see what happens over the next 24 to 48 hours but come Tuesday I would expect Jelavic to be gone.
“I thought Preston were very decent, they are competitive and well organised and well drilled.
“It was always going to be a difficult game.
“They will survive. I think there are worse teams than them for sure.”
Hull took the lead late in the first half when Preston failed to clear a corner and Kilkenny kicked the ball off the line, but it hit Hernandez and rebounded into the net .
Davies made the victory safe with nine minutes remaining as he volleyed high into the net from an out-swinging corner by Shaun Maloney, who had joined the Tigers from MLS side Chicago Fire just two days before the game against Preston.
The visitors rarely threatened, aside from a first-half shot from Chris Humphrey and a header over by second-half substitute Alan Browne, and suffered a defeat which leaves Simon Grayson’s side 17th in the Championship table after a three-match winless streak in the league.
And Grayson admits it was the tried-and-tested quality of Michael Dawson and goalscorer Davies – who have made hundreds of Premier League appearances between them – at the back that ultimately proved the difference in his side’s victory. He said: “Michael Dawson is man of the match so it tells you they have been tested.
“Dawson and Davies have played in the Premier League for many years so you can see how good their players are.
“We know where we need to strengthen so we will see if we can do anything before the transfer window closes.”
And Grayson is now keeping his fingers crossed that last season’s hero Jermaine Beckford, who remains on the sidelines due to a knee injury suffered in pre-season, does not need an operation.
“He will have to see a surgeon and then we will know more after that,” revealed Grayson.
HULL OF A GOAL: Abel Hernandez celebrates scoring a lucky goal