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