Bruce hopes Tigers build on cup win
Hull boss Steve Bruce sees no reason why an FA Cup run should not "galvanise" his squad in their quest to stay in the Barclays Premier League.
The Tigers came through what could on another day have proved a tricky fourth-round tie at Sky Bet League Two Southend, with a second-half brace from Matty Fryatt, who was one of nine changes to the starting line-up.
Bruce believes Hull - who currently sit 11th in the table, some five clear of trouble - can look to fight on both fronts over the second half of the campaign.
"We have to stay in the Premier League, that is where we all want to be. However, there is no harm in a cup run because sometimes it can galvanise you and I am delighted we have got through," said Bruce, who won the FA Cup three times as a player with Manchester United.
"Wigan proved to everybody last year, that while a club like us cannot win the Premier League - we understand that, we are not good enough - but we can win the FA Cup because you just never know the draw, the big teams could draw each other."
With record signings Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long ineligible, while Tom Huddlestone was suspended after his red card at Norwich, Bruce handed an opportunity to several players who otherwise had been given little game time this season.
Danny Graham, who has been linked with a move away from Hull this month, led the attack alongside Fryatt, while goalkeeper Steve Harper also came into the side along with the likes of Abdoulaye Faye, Paul McShane, David Meyler, Stephen Quinn and George Boyd.
Bruce was pleased at how those players integrated.
"We did not bring in six or seven youngsters, we have brought in guys with bags of experience, some who are international footballers," the Hull boss said.
"It is great for us that we can change the team and still be strong enough to get through."
On another afternoon, the Shrimpers - who are chasing promotion, currently seventh but only two points off the automatic places - could have caused a shock, as a bullet header from Barry Corr was saved at point-blank range and then at the start of the second half, a 30-yard strike from Michael Timlin crashed against the crossbar.
Eventually, though, Hull's superiority came through as just after the hour Fryatt cracked a low effort into the bottom right corner, adding a second on the break in stoppage time.
Former Hull boss Phil Brown - who took the east Yorkshire side to the top flight via the play-off at Wembley in 2008 and kept them up the following season - is determined to keep current club Southend focused for their League Two campaign.
"You could not write the script for me when the draw was made, and I did enjoy the encounter," said Brown, who left Hull in 2010.
"Good luck to Hull City in the next round and in their Premier League campaign, but I have got my own challenges ahead."
Part of those include the club's plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm.
Brown is relishing a return to grassroots.
"It is not a different skills set, it is very similar," said Brown, appointed at Roots Hall in March 2013 following a year at Preston, who were relegated to League One.
"The (media) exposure is less and therefore you don't have to spend as much time thinking about what you say, you just say it, but I am enjoying the challenge of getting my hands dirty and playing the type of football we are playing."