sport

Home sweet home for Meyler

David Meyler believes the coming weeks represent a great opportunity for Hull to consolidate their position above the Premier League drop zone.

While the club continue to make headlines for the unseemly row between owner Assem Allam and a group of supporters who vehemently oppose his plans to rebrand the team as Hull Tigers from next season, things have been more encouraging on the pitch.

Manager Steve Bruce has guided the side to 12th place after 15 matches, with all but four of their 18 points collected at the KC Stadium.

Oddly, the only side to have beaten Hull on home turf are strugglers Crystal Palace but that result was firmly put to bed at the first attempt with a 3-1 win over Liverpool on December 1.

Meyler scored the crucial second goal on that occasion and is now looking forward to a run of three home games in the next four outings before New Year.

"It's nice to play at home because the KC is kind of like a fortress for us," said the Republic of Ireland midfielder.

"We defend really well here, we play good football and we maximise our points.

"We have Stoke at home and we're looking to beat them. After West Brom away we've got Manchester United at home - the way they're playing at the moment maybe we can get some points from them too - and then it's Fulham at home as well.

"It will be a crucial period for us and we're looking to pick up a lot of points."

As evidenced by his suggestion that Manchester United represent a reasonable chance for points, Meyler is bullish about Hull's prospects.

Stoke upset Chelsea 3-2 in their last match and sit just one point and one place beneath their opponents, but the Republic of Ireland midfielder is only entertaining thoughts of victory.

"They had a fantastic result against Chelsea and they'll be full of confidence but we'll be looking to knock them back off their stool," he said.

"We're looking for three points against them. Of course, it's a tough game for us but coming to the KC will be tough for them too."

Bruce accepts the contention that the next two weeks represent a critical moment for his side.

"Could this period define the season? Yes, I think so," he said.

"If you can put back to back games together now that can stand you in good stead. Can we get to 20 points before Christmas? That would be ideal and we'd be halfway to getting where we want to be.

"For a club like ours you'd take 20 points at Christmas.

"We knew how difficult it would be to be in the Premier League and we knew we would have to be really, really good at home and, touch wood, we have been.

"It's imperative it stays that way because we're under no illusion how hard it will be."

Like most of his peers, Bruce is also preparing for a busy transfer window.

He is known to be looking for a striker - though he has denied an interest in Newcastle's Shola Ameobi - but is also keen to tie up loan star Jake Livermore on a permanent deal.

"I'd love to do a deal for Jake if it's possible," he confirmed.

"But he's Tottenham's player. I'll have a conversation and the key to it is Spurs. Jake has now played 15 times for us this season and done very well for us.

"It's in their corner because he's their player and whether they are willing to sell is a big question."