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Football: Bruce upbeat after Hull loss keeps race alive

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Hull manager Steve Bruce insists his team can still clinch automatic promotion to the Premier League on Saturday after slipping to a 2-0 defeat against struggling Barnsley.

Bruce's second placed side would have guaranteed their place among the English game's elite with a victory at Oakwell, but goals from Jacob Mellis and Chris O'Grady ensured the battle to go up from the Championship will be decided on the final weekend of the season.

The Tigers still have their fate in their own hands as they remain one point clear of third placed Watford, who won 2-1 at Leicester on Friday, and a victory over already-promoted Cardiff at the KC Stadium next Saturday would seal promotion.

"The reason why we've got ourselves in this position (to get promoted)is we've played badly before and responded," Bruce said.

"It's a big, huge week and I'm confident we'll respond in the right way.

"Thankfully, it's still in our hands but we certainly need to perform to a level which we haven't seen today."

Craig Noone earned champions Cardiff a 1-1 draw against Bolton as the Welsh club were presented with the Championship trophy in front of their own fans.

Bolton had looked set to spoil the party when Chris Eagles gave the visitors a 19th minute lead.

But substitute Noone curled home a free-kick in the 68th minute as Cardiff look ahead to their first top-flight campaign for 51 years.

Bolton remain in the play-off places ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Brighton's spot in the play-offs was confirmed as Gus Poyet's men won 2-1 in a fiery clash at Leeds.

Leonardo Ulloa's 87th-minute header sealed the points for Albion after El-Hadji Diouf's penalty had cancelled out Will Buckley's opener.

Leeds' Rodolph Austin was dismissed following an off-the-ball collision with Ashley Barnes, while Brighton's Inigo Calderon joined him for his foul on Diouf in the build-up to the penalty.

Senegal striker Diouf was then sent off by referee Graham Scott for allegedly abusing the Brighton fans in the wake of his successful spot-kick.

"I can't understand him and maybe he can't understand himself," Leeds manager Brian McDermott said of Diouf.

"What he did is not clever. He has got to learn because he is going to miss three games now."

Jordan Rhodes secured Blackburn's Championship status with an equaliser in the 1-1 draw against fifth placed Crystal Palace, who still need one win from their remaining two matches to book a play-off berth.

Nottingham Forest are also still in the hunt for the play-offs thanks to a 1-0 win at Millwall which left Billy Davies's side one point outside the top six.

At the other end of the table, Wolves were plunged further into trouble as 10-man Burnley sealed a 2-1 win at Molineux.

Goals from Danny Ings and Martin Paterson were enough for Burnley, although Nouha Dicko got one back for Wolves after Michael Duff saw red for the visitors.

Dean Saunders's team are three points adrift of safety and must win at Brighton on the final day to stand any chance of survival.

"I am devastated," Saunders said. "We should never be in the position that we are in.

"We are not dead yet, obviously it is stacked up against us but stranger things have happened. We have to make sure that they happen to us."

Peterborough boosted their survival bid with a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield are almost safe after a 3-1 victory at Bristol City.

Elsewhere, Blackpool beat Derby 2-1, Ipswich defeated Birmingham 3-1 and Middlesbrough drew 2-2 with Charlton.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130427/football-bruce-upbeat-after-hull-loss-keeps-race-alive