sport

Koren calls for 'respect' in row

Robert Koren has called for "respect" to be shown in the Hull name row so that on-field events do not suffer.

Owner Assem Allam's controversial proposal to replace the traditional Hull City AFC title with his preferred moniker of 'Hull Tigers' has proved the major talking point of the season at the KC Stadium.

That is no mean feat considering manager Steve Bruce has steered an unfancied side to mid-table and overseen victories over the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle.

Allam has swept aside fan groups who have petitioned him to reconsider the rebranding process and a formal application is now with the Football Association, which has promised to consult supporters before deciding whether to sign off the change.

Home matches could feasibly become the battleground for Allam's opponents to make their point, with Saturday's visit of Stoke an early test case, and Koren is keen for calm heads to prevail.

"I just think everyone needs to respect each other," said Slovenian.

"The people (at the FA Council) need to make a decision now and they will make a decision. But at the end of the day, we are players and need to do our jobs on the field.

"We are just hoping the fans support us and do the right things, as they have been doing so far, on the side of the field to give us this extra lift and energy. That always matters.

"The fans are doing a great job and we are pleased with that. It's easier for everybody."

Having beaten Brendan Rodgers' high-flying Reds in their last home match, Hull may fancy their chances of repeating the trick against a Potters outfit who sit one place and one point beneath them.

But their only defeat of the season at the KC came against lowly Crystal Palace - bottom of the table at the time - and Koren knows his side can never afford to be complacent in their first season back at the top table.

"You need to be focused in every game and every game is three points," he said.

"You must go step by step and prepare yourself right all week and not get carried away and think too far forward, think we have achieved something.

"Concentration is the main thing for me and on the pitch because you are playing some of the best teams in the world and you can't give them too much space.

"We must work really hard as a team, we know we are underdogs in this league. We are working hard to stay in this league and so far, we have done well."