WATCH: Hull City press conference (FA Cup tie against Arsenal)

Published: Friday 19th February 2016 by Tom Drinkall

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Hull City manager Steve Bruce has confirmed he will make “sweeping changes” for Saturday’s FA Cup encounter against holders Arsenal as his focus remains firmly on returning the Tigers to the Premier League.

Hull lock horns with the Gunners in the FA Cup for the third time in as many years on Saturday – having lost to Arsene Wenger’s side in the third round last season and, agonisingly, in the 2014 final after leading 2-0 inside eight minutes.

Hull find themselves two points clear at the top of the Championship standings and, with the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League set to intensify in the weeks ahead, Bruce plans to shuffle his pack for Saturday’s lunchtime Emirates Stadium showdown.

“We could have picked an easier one, couldn’t we?” he said at Friday’s press conference, which you can watch on the KC Sport website for absolutely free.

“The odds are just ridiculous, but when there was four, five, six balls left when the last draw was made, I think it was written in the stars again that we were going to go back to the Emirates.

“(The draw) could’ve been a bit more kind to us but whenever you go to Arsenal and you play at the Emirates then it’s a fabulous occasion. (It is) a big cup tie and let’s go and enjoy it and see what we can do.”

Hull will have no time to reflect on Saturday’s fifth-round tie, whatever the result, as they travel to Suffolk three days later for a tricky Championship encounter against Ipswich.

And Bruce had one eye on Tuesday night’s clash with Mick McCarthy’s side when he confirmed that he would make wholesale changes for Saturday’s fixture.

“Tinkering, whatever you want to call it, there will be sweeping changes,” the former Sunderland boss said.

“As I’ve said I don’t want to harp on about it, but we’ve been dealt a tough blow with the TV requirements. We’ve had 10 games in 33 days which is a ridiculous schedule for any club.

“Thankfully at the moment, touch wood, we’ve got no real injuries so it’s going to stretch us to the limit in terms of the squad we’ve got, but we’ve got big, big games, and a lot of games, coming up thick and fast.

“They’re important ones because, yes the FA Cup is the FA Cup and we had the best day out in the club’s history two, three years ago, but our prime focus is got to be on returning back to the Premier League.

“It’s a tough call because you want to play your first team against Arsenal, of course you would.”

One player that will feature against Arsenal is on-loan Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell, who has yet to play for the Tigers since joining on the final day of the winter transfer window.

Powell could play a key part in leading Hull to the top flight come the end of the season and Bruce admitted that he would like to turn his loan deal into a permanent one.

He said: “He’s only 21, he’s a wonderful talent. I remember watching him a few times when he was at Wigan in the Championship, he was only 18, 19 and did very well.

“He’s got fantastic talent and I’m not just looking at it for the next three months – I would like to make it permanent with him.”

Visit KC Sport to watch Steve Bruce answer more questions in Friday’s Hull City press conference.

Published: Friday 19th February 2016 by Tom Drinkall

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