English Premiership

Bruce's Hull chase history

2014-04-12 14:07
Steve Bruce (AP Photo)

London - Hull City manager Steve Bruce insists he won't let his players be distracted by the prospect of making history as they prepare to face League One minnows Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Bruce's Premier League team head to Wembley for their first semi-final in 84 years as the clear favourites against third tier opponents who are the last remaining obstacle between Hull and the first major final in the club's 110-year history.

On paper, Hull should have few problems dispatching Nigel Clough's team to set up a final showdown with Arsenal or Wigan, who meet in the other semi-final on Saturday.

United are 44 places below Hull in the league structure and no team from outside the top two divisions has reached the FA Cup final in more than a century.

But Bruce, whose first managerial job was with United in 1998, is determined to guard against complacency and, in a bid to keep his players in businesslike mood, he was quick to play down the historic sub-plot.

Former Manchester United defender Bruce, a three-time FA Cup winner as a player, said: "We won't do anything different. We want it to be like a normal game.

"We don't want to give them any excuses. We had Thursday off, we are in Friday and Saturday and let's hope preparation is the same as usual.

"I know the team, but the players don't. I'll tell the players the team on Saturday.

"You know when there is a big game and we had to put the reins on them at the training ground, which is great to see. They were flying around."

Hull owner Assem Allam suffered a frustrating defeat at Wembley in midweek when his controversial application to change the club's name to Hull Tigers was rejected by the Football Association.

But the Egyptian will be back at the English national stadium with Europe in his sights.

Should Arsenal get the better of Wigan, either Hull or United will qualify for next season's Europa League if the Gunners hold onto fourth spot in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League.

"Hull playing in Europe would be terrific. We'll all go on EasyJet!" Bruce said.

"It would be quite remarkable but we've got to get to the final first."

Meanwhile, boss Clough admits he isn't offended by the Blades' underdog tag.

Clough, whose father Brian failed to win the Cup during his legendary managerial career, has masterminded victories over Premier League sides Aston Villa and Fulham during United's run to the last four.

But United, the first League One team to reach this stage of the competition since 2001, have a miserable record at Wembley and Clough is realistic about his unheralded team's hopes of springing another surprise.

"Our chances are slim because we're playing a team two divisions above us," he said.

"It is so many years since a League One team got to this stage. And I don't think one has got to the final so that's why Hull are huge favourites.

"Hull will be the sternest test. I would have said that even if it had been the round before."

Just reaching semi-finals is a huge achievement for United -- four-time FA Cup winners and founder members of the Premier League who have fallen on hard times in the last two decades.

Former Liverpool and England striker Clough will relish the day whatever the result, especially since his latest clash with Bruce won't result in bruises for once.

The pair were regular combatants during their playing days in the top-flight and Clough said: "We had some real battles. There was one of us doing the kicking -- and guess who that was!

"I played against Steve for a good few years and he was uncompromising to say the least.

"I didn't lose my cool because I was in too much pain lying on the ground."

smg/bc

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
13 September 2014
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Leicester City, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Burnley, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v Newcastle United, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadium of Light 16:00
Chelsea v Swansea City, Stamford Bridge 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Everton, The Hawthorns 16:00
Liverpool v Aston Villa, Anfield 18:30
14 September 2014
Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers, Old Trafford 17:00
15 September 2014
Hull City v West Ham United, The KC Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Is Louis van Gaal the right man to restore the glory days at United?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.