Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Let's Hope Hull's Cup Is Overflowing, and All Our Rivals Suffer Too Hull City Players, Alan Pardew, Jermain Defoe and Bob Bradley Are All Grist to Boro's Mill CARL O'HARA

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Let's Hope Hull's Cup Is Overflowing, and All Our Rivals Suffer Too Hull City Players, Alan Pardew, Jermain Defoe and Bob Bradley Are All Grist to Boro's Mill CARL O'HARA

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS anthony.vickers@trinitymirror.com @untypicalboro

GO TIGERS! Hull's progress in the League Cup is good news for Boro.

Obviously beating plucky Championship side Newcastle was worth a few banter points in workplaces across the region.

And Hull having their only fully-fit striker sent off and so suspended for the pivotal basement battle with Boro next Monday was a bonus.

They may even be prematurely distracted by the glint of glory and dreams of Wembley. Maybe.

It is all good news for Boro. And that's not just short-sighted parochialism in the next match. It is all about long-term strategic planning.

I'm convinced that Boro will stay up fairly comfortably - but we can't take any chances.

We will probably always only ever be one two-week wobble or one freak weekend of results below us from being dragged right back down into the cut-throat scrap.

So I am proactively encouraging each and every obstacle pushed into the path to survival of our rivals in the fragile bottom third.

Boro need to do their bit of course. They need to scrap through every second of every fixture to bank every precious point possible.

We need to be ruthless and push three hapless teams into the mire and stamp on their fingers as they try to climb the ladder to escape.

But we will also need the opposition to be pegged back and shackled by circumstance. So bring on the fixture congestion, injuries, suspensions, disruptive boardroom bloodletting, fan revolts, messy managerial axings and January transfer window woes... every little helps.

So I for one will be urging Hull on in their two tough semi-final showdowns with Manchester United. Emotionally and physically gruelling home and away encounters before suffering heartbreak - or booking a head-turning date. Either/ or. They can be equally damning.

Of course, the prospect of Wembley and far-fetched dreams of actually winning it may spur them on, boost morale and lead to an upturn in league results... or as we know only too well, it may be a fatal distraction on the road to relegation.

At the very least it is two tough extra games crowbarred into an already crowded January fixture list. …

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