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Mike Phelan feeling confident on future as Hull boss

Published 18/09/2016

Mike Phelan has been in temporary charge at Hull since Steve Bruce's exit
Mike Phelan has been in temporary charge at Hull since Steve Bruce's exit

Interim Hull manager Mike Phelan hopes to be confirmed as Steve Bruce's permanent successor "sooner rather than later".

For most clubs promotion to the Premier League brings with it a feel-good factor, but play-off victory was followed by pain and disruption for the Tigers.

Bruce, the club's most successful manager, walked away from the KCOM Stadium in July, with fans protesting against the Allam regime as City started the campaign with just 13 fit first-team players.

Assistant manager Phelan looked to have been handed a poisoned chalice, but has flourished, following up the opening-day victory against Premier League champions Leicester with a win at Swansea and a point away to Burnley either side of a late loss to Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson's former number two won August's manager-of-the-month award and, despite the club still being in takeover talks, was offered the job on a full-time basis in the build-up to Saturday's clash with Arsenal.

Phelan did not look at the details in order to focus on a match Hull lost 4-1, so spent Sunday looking at the deal and discussing it with his family ahead of meeting vice-chairman Ehab Allam on Monday.

Asked if it was now a matter of when rather than if he takes charge, he said: "Well, I hope so.

"We have got stage where there is an offer and it's just a case of making sure everything is correct and then we can get on with it.

"We can improve. We have shown that we've got huge determination, we've got a great group of players that seem to have pulled together really well.

"The new players have settled in very, very quickly. I think if you ask every one of them, to a man they would say they're surprised with how quickly they've settled in.

"We need to use the squad now. We've gone a few games now with the same team. I thought that was important to do that, simply because of what we've done so far.

"Now obviously we have some massive games coming up, and a cup game in-between, so we need to use the squad."

The 53-year-old described his situation as looking "a lot brighter" after several weeks of uncertainty, although he had not looked at the deal until Sunday.

Contract length was said to be a potential stumbling block initially, but Phelan says "what's important is that I get an opportunity to be a manager".

That is a role he is expecting rather than that of a head coach and believes the opportunity at the KCOM Stadium will allow him to put his mark on the club.

"It's something I have always wanted to have a go at," Phelan said.

"I think this football club has given managers chances to get on and manage and that's an important part of my decision.

"There's still issues to be resolved, simply because we are still speculating about ownership and when that's going to happen, if that's going to happen and I seem to be in the middle of it all doing my job.

"Now there's a possibility that I may become the permanent manager and I am looking forward to it."

Phelan is not seeking assurances on the transfer front right now, merely that the players know he is in charge.

"I am sure I am all the news at the moment, because this is only club in the Premier League without a permanent manager," he added.

"Once we sift through all the detail, and we have another midweek game as well, hopefully it will get done sooner rather than later."

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