Hull boosted their push for promotion to the Premier League as Abel Hernandez hit a hat-trick in Saturday’s 6-0 demolition of Championship strugglers Charlton.
Steve Bruce’s side moved within two points of second tier leaders Middlesbrough, who were beaten 1-0 by lowly Bristol City, thanks to Uruguay forward Hernandez’s first half heroics at the KC Stadium.
The Tigers are now four points clear of third placed Derby as they bid to win a quick return to the top-flight following last season’s relegation.
Charlton, who were routed 5-0 at Huddersfield in midweek, were 4-0 down at half-time, with Robert Snodgrass adding to Hernandez’s treble.
Jose Riga’s first game in charge of his second spell at Charlton went from bad to worse after the break as Mohamed Diame added a fifth and on-loan Arsenal youngster Isaac Hayden sealed the points with 10 minutes to go.
“I’ve got a squad which is very good and playing for each other. We’ve got a long way to go but at the moment we’re playing very well,” Bruce said.
“Some of the goals we scored and some of the football we played meant Charlton found it very difficult against us.”
Middlesbrough’s surprise defeat at Bristol City was settled deep into stoppage-time when Wes Burns’ glancing header improved the managerless hosts’ chances of avoiding relegation.
“We didn’t deserve to win because we didn’t play in our usual way and our key players did not perform as they can,” Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka said.
“People were expecting an easy win for us, but the Championship is not like that.”
Derby lost ground on the top two as Paul Robinson’s strike, Stephen Gleeson’s superb curling effort and Maikel Kieftenbeld’s 25-yard volley earned visiting Birmingham a comfortable 3-0 victory at the iPro Stadium.
Fifth placed Brighton’s goal drought ended at Blackburn as Bobby Zamora’s sixth goal of the season in the third minute was enough to claim maximum points.
Gary Hooper’s quick-fire double secured Sheffield Wednesday a 2-0 win against Leeds and lifted the hosts into the play-off places.
Hooper, on loan from Norwich scored twice in three minutes early in the second half before Leeds had a 78th-minute effort from Liam Cooper controversially disallowed by referee Anthony Taylor because the Owls had not completed Fernando Forestieri’s substitution.
Craig Noone bagged a first-half brace as Cardiff claimed a 3-1 win at Wolves to relieve the pressure on manager Russell Slade.
Bottom of the table Bolton had goalkeeper Ben Amos sent off after just 11 minutes of their clash at Nottingham Forest and the hosts took full advantage as they swept to a 3-0 win.
Goals from Junior Hoilett, Matt Phillips and Sebastian Polter eased Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to his first win since taking charge of QPR as the west Londoners defeated Rotherham 3-0.
Joe Walsh scored the only goal of the game as Milton Keynes Dons grabbed a vital 1-0 win against Reading, while the matches between Ipswich and Preston and Huddersfield and Fulham both ended 1-1.
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