The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Roddy Brooks

HULL man­ager Steve Bruce be­lieves his pro­mo­tion chal­lengers are com­ing good at the right time of the sea­son.

Bruce has been charged with a rapid re­turn to the Premier League and the way his side de­mol­ished Charl­ton shows all the signs they are more than ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing that aim.

Abel Her­nan­dez scored a first half hat-trick and there were also goals from Robert Sn­od­grass, Mo Di­ame and Isaac Hay­den.

Hull closed the gap on Cham­pi­onship lead­ers Mid­dles­brough, who were beaten at Bris­tol City, to two points, as third-placed Derby also lost at home to Birm­ing­ham.

Charl­ton re­main se­cond from bot­tom af­ter a se­cond hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat in four days which has not only cost their pre­vi­ous man­ager his job but also seen their sur­vival hopes and poor goal dif­fer­ence suf­fer se­ri­ous dam­age.

Jose Riga, who first man­aged Charl­ton be­tween March and May of 2014, came back to re­place in­terim man­ager Karel Fra­eye who was sacked by owner Roland Duchatelet af­ter the 5-0 de­feat at Hud­der­s­field on Tues­day.

Bruce said:“Ev­ery team has a bit of a dip. It’s very un­likely that any team goes and storms the league.

“We’ve played very well of late so let’s hope that con­tin­ues. Our home form has been rock solid.”

The Hull man­ager be­lieves his squad is in good shape as the Tigers bid to keep their pro­mo­tion push on course.

“I’ve got a squad which is very good and play­ing for each other.We’ve got a long way to go but at the mo­ment we’re play­ing very well.

Bruce had words of com­fort for re­turn­ing Charl­ton man­ager Riga, say­ing:“I wish Jose the best of luck. He did re­ally well be­fore. He’s got a proven track record but it’s never easy.”

Hull took the lead af­ter nine min­utes through Her­nan­dez, who made the most of a mis­take in the Charl­ton de­fence be­fore his shot went in off the post.

They were 2-0 up seven min­utes later when the same player fin­ished well from the edge of the area.

Robert Sn­od­grass scored Hull’s third with an­other com­posed fin­ish, curl­ing into the top cor­ner af­ter good work by Sam Clu­cas and Her­nan­dez.

And Her­nan­dez se­cured his hat-trick from close range be­fore half time, mak­ing it 14 league goals this sea­son.

Mo Di­ame and Isaac Hay­den com­pleted the rout with goals af­ter the in­ter­val, both again fin­ish­ing with com­po­sure from out­side the area – al­though Hay­den’s shot came via a de­flec­tion.

By con­trast Charl­ton did not work Al­lan McGre­gor in the Hull goal and Riga ad­mits he does not want to ex­pe­ri­ence the emo­tions of be­ing rel­e­gated.

“I’ve never been rel­e­gated in my life and I don’t want to know what this feel­ing is like to be rel­e­gated,” said the Charl­ton man­ager.

“The first thing is to push ev­ery­body, in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively.They have to work on all aspects of the game.

“We need time to find the real prob­lems and to work on it.We have to be bet­ter tac­ti­cally, bet­ter tech­ni­cally and bet­ter in our will.

“We need some help.We are in the trans­fer win­dow.We need fresh­ness to be able to face this big chal­lenge but there are still 19 games.”

Riga said get­ting off to such a bad start against Hull had hit his side’s con­fi­dence and they never re­ally re­cov­ered.

“Bad emo­tions are gen­er­ated by this kind of re­sult. The fact that this game was played against one of the best teams (in the divi­sion) made it hard for us,” he added.

“There was no con­fi­dence. It’s a big prob­lem when you have to face Hull City.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

WILL­ING AND ABEL: Abel Her­nan­dez cel­e­brates scor­ing his se­cond goal and, in­set, com­pletes his hat-trick



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