Bruce takes nothing for granted
Steve Bruce will take charge of his 200th game at Hull City this week, edging closer towards a Premier League return. Bruce is on course for the fourth promotion of his managerial career, a record that arguably deserves more respect, after this stroll against Derby virtually guaranteed a Wembley date.
His vast experience and tactical awareness were crucial in this rout and the second leg should be a formality. “It helps that I’ve been doing it for 18 years because it’s a tough job so you rely on your experience,” he said. “If you have anything about you, you want to manage in the Premier League and take your team up there. We know how difficult it is but it’s what we all want to try and do.”
Bruce was remaining cautious, however, for he has seen too many tales of the unexpected during his four years in east Yorkshire. Hull may have one shoe in the final but Bruce knows they have the propensity to shoot themselves in the foot.
“Derby are the only team to beat us at home this season so as far as I’m concerned it’s not over,” he said. “We always do our best to make a mess of it so I’ll try and make sure we finish off the job.”
Hull were coasting by half-time after Abel Hernández’s low strike and a calamitous own goal from Jason Shackell. Andrew Robertson’s third goal, in added time, was a killer for Derby, who fluffed their lines spectacularly.
Derby have spent more than £25 million this season but they were short of Hull in every department. Darren Wassall, the interim manager, will need all the help he can get from football adviser Harry Redknapp ahead of the return leg, which is surely a futile mission.
Midfielder Craig Bryson made a brave attempt to sound defiant. “We have to go there and believe we can still get through,” he said. “If we think we’re beaten, then there’s no point us actually turning up. We will go there as massive underdogs and try to get a result”
Wembley in sight: Hull City manager Steve Bruce celebrates with his players after the third goal at Derby on Saturday