Europa League: Steve Bruce targeting 'special' cup run as Hull City prepare to welcome AS Trencin to the KC Stadium
Tigers will face AS Trencin in the Europa League play-off second leg with the score-line goalless
Thursday 07 August 2014
Steve Bruce is determined to lead Hull deeper into uncharted territory as the Tigers prepare to battle AS Trencin for a place in the Europa League play-offs.
The Humberside club, who discovered a route into continental competition by finishing as runners-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup final, are now three games away from the Europa League group stages.
But last week's trip to Slovakia - in which Tom Huddlestone missed a penalty and rattled his follow-up against the bar - ended as a goalless draw, meaning Hull must win at a sold-out KC Stadium to progress.
Bruce clinched promotion from the Championship with Hull last summer before guiding them all the way to a Wembley meeting with Arsenal, but believes tonight's showdown represents a very different milestone in the club's history.
"It would have to rate as one of the big games," said the Tigers boss. "We've got into the semi-finals and final of the FA Cup, but the club is taking steps to where it's never been before.
"So let's go and enjoy it and, if we can progress into the group stages and pick out one or two glamour clubs of Europe, then you'll look at your career afterwards and remember those nights in Europe.
"They're a bit special if you can go a bit further in the competition, but we've got to win this one first."
Bruce has only been in place at the KC since 2012, but his achievements over the past two years have ensured the Tigers faithful hold him in the highest regard.
He does not, however, believe he will merit "legendary" status for guiding Hull into the group stages.
Bruce added: "It'll only mean something if we can get through, it'll be a damp squib if we don't, it will be a miserable night.
"After the game, if we've been victorious, then of course, but I think the achievement will be the players'.
"We were so close to winning a bit of silverware and this is a reward for what they achieved last year."
Defender Liam Rosenior is relishing the chance to participate in Hull's first ever European campaign.
The former Fulham player warned his team-mates against complacency and pointed to the city's rush to pack out the KC Stadium when urging his fellow Tigers not to let the opportunity slip away.
"I think it sums up everything about where this club's come from," he said. "It shows how much this club means to the city.
"To be involved in a European tie, whether at this stage or the group stage or the semi-final, is massive and means a lot to this area and to the football club.
"I'm delighted to be a part of it, but at the same time very motivated to make sure it continues for as long as possible.
"We've got to make sure we don't look back and say 'What if?' after we've been knocked out of a qualifying round of a tournament we could have gone on to enjoy."
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