Steve Bruce: Hull City hopes of automatic promotion hinge on others collapsing

Hull City manger Steve Bruce
Hull City are fourth in the Championship table after 42 games

Manager Steve Bruce admits Hull City's hopes of automatic promotion hinge on their Championship rivals collapsing.

Tuesday's 2-1 win at Reading sealed a play-off spot at the very least and moves Hull to within eight points of the top two with four games remaining.

Bruce, whose side have a game in hand on those teams above them, said: "Unless there's an almighty collapse by those above us, which you cling to, then we won't go straight up.

"We've got no divine right to do that."

Hull, looking for an immediate return to the Premier League after being relegated last season, are one of four sides that have topped the Championship table since Boxing Day last year.

"We've got ourselves in the play-offs and we'll be a match for anybody," said Bruce.

"If that's got to be our route, then we'll have to accept that and get on with it."

Middlesbrough are two points clear at the top of the table after being held to a 1-1 draw by second-placed Burnley on Tuesday.

Brighton, who were at the summit in mid-December and have been as low as sixth in the table, are outside the automatic promotion places on goal difference alone after beating QPR 4-0.

A winless run of five league games from late February to March hurt Hull's chances, but Bruce laments that every side suffers from a slump of form at some stage of the season.

"Even if you're the greatest team, sometimes at the wrong time you can lose a bit of form - like the mighty Barcelona. That's football," he said.

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