Steve Bruce is not a happy man and you can’t really blame him.
Not only does the Hull manager have to contend with yet another game against Arsenal in the FA Cup, he has to deal with the TV companies moving the game to 12.45pm on a Saturday, meaning his side had to play 10 games in just 33 days – a crazy schedule for any team.
Speaking to the media ahead of the clash on Saturday at the Emirates, Bruce tried to laugh it all off but his words cut through his chuckles, as they rightly should.
But, what does this mean for Arsenal? Why is it a boost?
Well, because Bruce has admitted that he won’t be playing his first team. Far from it.
“I don’t want to harp on about it, we’ve been a dealt a tough blow with TV requirements,” Bruce said.
“We had 10 games in 33 days – it’s a ridiculous schedule for any club.
“Thankfully, at the moment – touch wood – we’ve got no real injuries but it’s going to stretch us to the limit in terms of the squad that we’ve got.
“We’ve got big, big games and a lot of games coming up thick and fast and of course they’re important ones.
“Yes, the FA Cup is the FA Cup and we had probably the best day out in the club’s history two years ago, but our prime focus has got to be returning back to the Premier League.
“It’s a tough, tough call because you’d love to play your so-called first team against Arsenal. Of course you would.”
There’ll be no chance of Hull coming to the Emirates to play for a draw as the last thing that Bruce wants is another game (and Arsene probably as well).
“I agree with that [scrapping replays],” Bruce continued.
“We’ve got a schedule which is just ridiculous, when you look at the schedule of the players and what they’re asked to do.
“Of course a player can play every day if you want – they train every day and they can play every day – but they can’t play with the same intensity.
“We all understand that and we ask our top players, really, to play over 60 games a season and then expect them to perform in a tournament in June.
“I don’t think it’s possible and I think that’s why we come unstuck and we’re going through it at the moment.
“Then, as a small club we’re being asked to play seven games in 23 days, which is ridiculous, and after that we’ve got a two-week break.
“Why they have to break for friendlies is beyond me.”
Relive the last two FA Cup meetings with Hull in the two videos below, the first one is especially beautiful:
Bruce also said that he would be making sweeping changes.
“There will be sweeping changes,” said Bruce.
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