Hull City manager Steve Bruce has backed Abel Hernandez to prove his true quality when his side face Leicester City in the fourth round of the League Cup hoping to dump another Premier League team out of the competition.
That Hull have kept hold of Hernandez – who cost a reported £10million when he moved to the KC Stadium in September 2014 – illustrates the Yorkshire’s club desire to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt following relegation.
The Uruguay forward was on target on Saturday as Bruce’s men ran out 2-0 winners against Birmingham City to move up to second place in the Championship.
Hernandez’s strike takes his tally for the season to seven in 12 appearances, with Bruce reaping the benefit as he thinks the former Palermo striker has finally adapted to English football.
“We all know that it’s a different division he’s playing in,” Bruce said. “He’s only a young lad. He found it difficult settling in England, which is always the gamble when you take any foreign player.
“Thankfully he’s getting used to the language, he’s getting used to the food, he’s getting used to the weather, and he looks a good player at the minute. He looks a threat.”
While Hull – who defeated Swansea City 1-0 in round three – are starting to find form in the Championship, Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester extended their extraordinary start to the campaign with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
It came courtesy of Jamie Vardy’s 10th goal of 2015-16 and also represents a first clean sheet this term for Leicester, who beat West Ham in the previous round to set up the clash at the KC Stadium and are fifth in the Premier League.
Hull, unbeaten in eight games, have not managed a win over Tuesday’s opposition in their previous five meetings, but Bruce is confident of ending that run.
“We had to lift the doom and gloom surrounding the club. We had to be patient and wait and see what we were going to be left with. I knew how difficult it was going to be,” Bruce added.
“We’ve got a mix of some good young players and good experience with that. Everybody’s disappointed when you come out of the big league.
“We’ve had a good week, and in the first half against Birmingham we looked a very, very good team. So I was delighted with that, and now we need to carry that form forward and we can match any team.”