BRUCE: ABEL

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Owens

STEVE Bruce had an omi­nous warn­ing for Hull City’s Cham­pi­onship ri­vals af­ter his men went top of the ta­ble with vic­tory at Black­burn – free-scor­ing Abel Her­nan­dez may be about to get even bet­ter.

Her­nan­dez rounded Ja­son Steele seven min­utes into the se­cond half to set the Tigers on their way to the win with his eighth goal in as many league ap­pear­ances.

The Uruguayan turned provider ten min­utes later, tee­ing up Mo­hamed Di­ame to se­cure the points – and Bruce’s post-match ver­dict on the striker’s dis­play may cause con­ster­na­tion among Hull’s ti­tle ri­vals.

“I wouldn’t swap Abel for any­body in the league, and I think he’ll get bet­ter when the weather gets bet­ter and he gets a bit warmer,” the Tigers boss pre­dicted.

“He seems to en­joy the sun­shine! He had a tough time last year in terms of the Premier League and found it a bit tough. He looks a very, very good player at the mo­ment and let’s hope that he can take us where we want to be.”

There had been lit­tle to choose be­tween the sides in the first half, de­spite the hosts en­dur­ing the triple blow of Grant Han­ley and Danny Gra­ham fail­ing fit­ness tests in the morn­ing, be­fore Hope Ak­pan with­drew dur­ing the warm-up due to ill­ness.

Di­ame came the clos­est of any­one, fir­ing just over from 20 yards af­ter driv­ing in­side from the left and leav­ing two Rovers de­fend­ers trail­ing in his wake shortly af­ter the half hour. Black­burn then saw ef­forts from Tony Watt and Dar­ragh Leni­han blocked in the dy­ing mo­ments of the half.

But the Tigers went ahead when Tommy Spurr ceded pos­ses­sion af­ter wan­der­ing in­side with the ball from left-back seven min­utes af­ter the restart.

Robert Sn­od­grass dis­pos­sessed the de­fender to set his team away on the counter be­fore find­ing Di­ame, who played the ball be­hind for Her­nan­dez to round Steele and score his 17th goal of the league cam­paign.

Black­burn upped their tempo af­ter go­ing be­hind, with Jordi Gomez and El­liott Ward both see­ing close-range ef­forts blocked.

But the vis­i­tors would soon

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