Steve Bruce: FA Cup run can help Hull with promotion push

08 March 2016 02:59

Steve Bruce insists an extended FA Cup run could boost Hull's promotion push as he prepares to cross swords with Arsene Wenger for a fourth time in three seasons in the competition.

The Tigers, well placed to bounce straight back into the Barclays Premier League, take on Arsenal in a fifth-round replay at the KC Stadium after embarking on a run of six matches in 16 days on Thursday, when they beat Wolves 2-1.

But despite calling for FA Cup replays to be scrapped after the original fifth-round tie ended goalless at the Emirates Stadium, Bruce believes victory over Arsenal could give his side significant momentum in the Sky Bet Championship.

"It did do a couple of years ago, we hope so," said Bruce, whose side were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal in the 2014 final before losing 2-0 at the Emirates in last season's third round.

"We've got such a hard game, I mean Arsenal are Arsenal, but there's nothing quite like a cup competition, especially when you get to quarter-finals.

"We've got a chance. If we get through we play Watford in a quarter-final here next Saturday.

"It can only be a good thing as long as five or six don't get injured, but why not? Let a little bit of momentum come, it doesn't do any harm. "

Bruce launched a passionate defence of under-fire Wenger, describing the continued criticism of the Arsenal manager as "appalling".

Wenger last delivered the Premier League title in 2004 and it has been rumoured the Frenchman could leave the club if Arsenal fail to overcome Bruce's side.

"From inside the game you're not going to hear people criticising him because when you're in management as long as he's been and what he's achieved, who is anyone to criticise him?" Bruce said.

"I don't know why we're questioning him. He's been one of the greatest managers this country has seen."

Wenger has staunchly defended his position and insists he has become bored of people questioning whether he has what it takes to continue in the job.

The 66-year-old has been accustomed in recent years to supporters and pundits alike calling for him to end his long reign with the Gunners, and in recent weeks he has faced a fresh wave of criticism after the team's title hopes were derailed by some poor results.

Wenger, the longest-serving manager in Europe as he approaches 20 years at the helm at Arsenal, has yet to sign a new contract with his current deal expiring next summer.

"Look, I have worked here for 19, 20 years and I'm always sitting here having to justify that I'm good enough to do the job," he said at his press conference previewing the trip to the KC Stadium.

"I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end. I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I worked for 35 years at the top level.

"What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, 'Do you think you are good enough?' If I am not, somebody will tell me."

Source: PA