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Bruce still confident of promotion

28 April 2013

Steve Bruce remains convinced his Hull outfit will be playing in the Barclays Premier League next season despite witnessing them miss the chance to secure automatic promotion after a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley.

The Tigers have seen a seven-point lead over third-placed Watford trimmed to just a solitary point ahead of next weekend's final round of fixtures, with champions Cardiff visiting the KC Stadium and the Hornets hosting Leeds. However, Bruce insists his men will get over their end-of-season jitters when the Bluebirds come to East Yorkshire on Saturday.

"The reason why we've got ourselves in this position is we've played badly before and responded," he said. "It's a big, huge week and I'm confident we'll respond in the right way. Thankfully, it's still in our hands but we certainly need to perform to a level which we haven't seen in this game."

Momentum is with Gianfranco Zola's men, who have been buoyed by back-to-back wins while Bruce's side have failed to find the net in their last three outings.

They are woefully out of form too as they followed up a defeat to struggling Wolves and a draw with already-relegated Bristol City by turning in a below-par performance at Oakwell, where the hosts claimed the spoils thanks to goals from Jacob Mellis and Chris O'Grady.

The saving grace for the Tigers may be their opponents on the day, with Cardiff having little incentive given their place at next year's top table is already secured.

It was a theory which Bruce dismissed, though, as he added: "We've had the bottom three and took one point. You look at whoever you play and there's never an easy game to play.

"What you have to do is get to a level of performance, consistently, and we've been able to do that throughout the year. I'm confident we'll do it next week."

While all the pre-match hype was understandably built around Hull's promotion quest, Barnsley's fate will also be determined next Saturday when they visit Huddersfield knowing victory will guarantee their safety.

Boss David Flitcroft claimed this win was one of the most impressive of his short tenure, particularly as it came after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Charlton at Oakwell earlier this month. He said: "It's massive, isn't it? The courage, the bravery they've displayed; but also the quality was on show. That was evident here."

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