Steve Bruce calls for unity
An exasperated Steve Bruce has made one final plea for unity as the row over Hull's proposed name change rumbles on.
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The manager has watched on this season as his side's impressive return to the Barclays Premier League has been overshadowed by an unedifying dispute between fans and owner Assem Allam.
The Egyptian businessman, a Hull resident for over 40 years and the man who rescued the club from the brink of administration when he took over in 2010, has incited the ire of supporters by pushing ahead with plans to change the playing name to Hull Tigers.
Groups such as City Till We Die have pledged to fight such an action but, despite their protests, an application to formally adopt the moniker in place of the 109-year-old title of Hull City AFC has been lodged with the Football Association.
A decision is not expected until April leaving Bruce, who has been attempting to draw the sting out of the situation for several weeks, making one final bid to draw the warring factions together in support of the team.
"All I can say is that I'm repeating myself now. (The application) has been done, it's been lodged and I can ask of the supporters is to get behind the team," he said ahead of Saturday's home clash against Stoke.
"We're not going to hear the decision until April. As far as I'm concerned let's all get on with it and see what the FA come up with.
"Anything else just gets in the road of my important job which is to beat Stoke.
"I hope now for the next five months it goes away. The job is hard enough as a newly-promoted team.
"The last thing we want as a team is to have distractions and to get embroiled in things us as a team can't do anything about.
"I think the fans are delighted with everything that's going on at the club - in terms of on the pitch - and it's important it stays that way."
The City faithful have certainly made their feelings apparent during recent home matches.
Chants of 'City Till We Die' have become more audible and pointed than ever before, while banners and flags bearing similar sentiments have become something of a sideshow to the football - particularly when stewards unsuccessfully attempted to confiscate one against Crystal Palace.
Allam spoke out against such actions and there was a concern that it may start to distract Hull's players, a theory that has been rubbished by midfielder David Meyler.
"I've a big enough job to worry about when we play the likes of Liverpool or Arsenal with Steven Gerrard or Mesut Ozil," said the Irishman.
"What happens outside is outside and we have to focus on what happens between the four white lines. It's quite hard when you've got Gerrard in front of you and the manager is telling you to track your runner.
"You can hear the fans chanting all right but you're switched on to what you're job is.
"If I tell the manager 'I saw some fella carrying a flag and Gerrard ran off me and scored' I don't think I'd be playing the next week."
Bruce has no new injury worries ahead of Stoke's visit, with Sone Aluko and Stephen Quinn the only first-team absentees.