The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Brodie

HULL boss Steve Bruce says he fears for the fu­ture of strug­gling Ful­ham af­ter see­ing his Hull side go top of the Cham­pi­onship af­ter snatch­ing three points at Craven Cot­tage.

City’s or­gan­i­sa­tion and hard work were re­warded with a late Abel Her­nan­dez penalty that sealed a fourth straight league vic­tory.

It was cruel on Ful­ham, who are 19th, but the ab­sence of in-de­mand top scorer Ross McCor­mack loomed large over this per­for­mance as they failed to turn pos­ses­sion into goals.

And Bruce warns that the Cot­tagers must be care­ful in deal­ing with McCor­mack, who missed the de­feat through ill­ness af­ter ru­mours this week linked the for­ward with Mid­dles­brough.

“McCor­mack is go­ing to be a big de­ci­sion,” he said. “They have to keep hold of him, he will be vi­tal. I’d hate to see this club slip again, but it’s in a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion.

“Drop­ping out of the Premier League is a big blow. Ful­ham prob­a­bly haven’t re­cov­ered yet and that’s why they’ve had so many man­agers.”

“Re­silience away from home is cru­cial. It’s not about play­ing nice foot­ball, Ful­ham played lovely stuff with­out hav­ing that real in­stinct.

“They had good pos­ses­sion, but we were al­ways com­fort­able. We know we’re al­ways ca­pa­ble of scor­ing.”

Ful­ham lacked dy­namism, if not ef­fort, in the fi­nal third.

Tom Cair­ney, keen to im­press against his for­mer club, passed and moved, but the fi­nal ball con­tin­u­ally proved elu­sive.

It was ob­vi­ous why Hull have the divi­sion’s sec­ondbest de­fence, with their two banks of four prov­ing tough to break down.

The first chance fell to Her­nan­dez on 11 min­utes as he ran clear of the home de­fence only for An­drew Lon­er­gen to deny the City top scorer with a smart save low to his left.

Ful­ham’s best chance came when a Cair­ney shot was tipped away by Al­lan McGre­gor, but Moses Odubajo got to the loose ball in front of Alex Ka­caniklic and cleared.

O’Hara then smashed a left-foot vol­ley nar­rowly wide.

At the other end, Her­nan­dez had a close-range shot blocked and Harry Maguire headed wide from a free-kick.

Cair­ney saw a free-kick go close and then laid a pass off to Scott Parker whose pow­er­ful shot swerved inches wide.

Ful­ham had a shout for a penalty when Moussa Dem­bele went down in the box, but the calls were half­hearted and waved away.Then, with ten min­utes to go, Chris­tensen stum­bled into the back of Odubajo and ref­eree Paul Tier­ney pointed to the spot.

Though Lon­er­gen got a hand to the ball, Her­nan­dez slot­ted home his 15th league goal of the sea­son.

And O’Hara had a free-kick bril- liantly tipped over in stop­page time by McGre­gor as Hull held out.

Ful­ham had two thirds of pos­ses­sion, but only two shots on tar­get, and head coach Slav­isa Jokanovic de­fended his style of play.

He said: “We didn’t cre­ate that many chances, but the game seemed to be head­ing for a draw.

“We made one mis­take and lost the game. It’s not an easy sit­u­a­tion for us. We showed some or­gan­i­sa­tion, we have more bal­ance than be­fore. But they were more solid, stronger and faster than us.”

On in-de­mand McCor­mack he added: “Ross was sick yes­ter­day and last week made only one train­ing ses­sion.

“Phys­i­cally, he is not ready to play. I don’t want to sell any­body and we don’t need to sell any­one.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

GROUP HUG: Hull City’s Abel Her­nan­dez cel­e­brates scor­ing their first goal STAR MAN TOM CAIRN

EY Ful­ham

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