By Tony Leighton
Easy? That word is not in the Hull City vocabulary, reckoned manager Steve Bruce after his so-near promotion team lost 1-0 at the npower Championship's second from bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday evening.
With successive games against Wolves and two other teams in the relegation mire - Bristol City and Barnsley - ahead of them at the start of the week, the task of the second in the table Tigers seemed simple as they looked to convert a six-point lead over third-placed Watford into automatic promotion.
Luckily for Bruce's side, Watford also suffered a Tuesday night defeat to lowly opposition, going down 1-0 at Millwall, but that did not remove the frustration that was clearly being felt by the Hull manager.
"It's written in the DNA of our club that it's not going to be easy," said an exasperated Bruce. "All season we've prided ourselves on not making mistakes, but we got caught in possession for the goal.
"We didn't deserve to get beaten, but that's what happens in the Championship. It would have been nice to get a result, but it's still all to play for."
Throughout the game at Wolves, Bruce and his technical area colleagues were kept informed of Watford's progress at Millwall. "I don't know why we put ourselves through that," said the manager. "It helped when I heard the Watford score, but we needed to get a result ourselves.
"We've been done a favour tonight by other people failing to get a result, and we'll have to take advantage of that when we play Bristol City on Friday."
Hull will entertain already relegated Bristol City knowing that a victory will leave them needing just one point from their final two matches to join Cardiff City, promoted on Tuesday night, in the Premier League next season.
And despite the anxiety he may be feeling, Bruce is more than happy with the way his team have performed this season to put themselves within touching distance of returning to the top flight three years after being relegated.
Approaching the end of his first campaign in charge of the Tigers, Bruce said: "We weren't give a hope in hell to start with so to be in this position, and to handle the situation the way we have, is a wonderful achievement.
"We just need to stay calm now and get over the line. We're quietly confident, but you can't take it for granted. It's in our hands though, and we can take a giant leap forward if we can get the result we want on Friday."
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