Steve Bruce has conceded Hull City's FA Cup final date with Arsenal has had an impact on their end-of-season form in the Premier League.
Since their 5-3 semi-final victory over Sheffield United last month, Bruce's men have taken just one point from four league outings, conceding 11 goals in the process.
With the showdown against Arsenal at Wembley on May 17 marking Hull's first ever FA Cup final appearance in their 110-year history, Bruce admits it has been difficult to retain their focus on league matters, and defeat at home to Everton on Sunday could leave them with a 17th-place finish.
"The most difficult part I've had since we've qualified to get to the final of the FA Cup, no matter how I have tried, I have basically failed to keep the focus on them," he said.
"It's been normal for a club of our size, I suppose, to just be swept away with the FA Cup final.
"And of course our results since the semi-final haven't been that great either so we can't wait to get there quickly enough to be honest."
Bruce rested a number of regular first-team players for Tuesday's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, and plans to do the same on Sunday, with the likes of Allan McGregor, Sone Aluko and Paul McShane all hoping to prove their fitness ahead of next weekend's final at Wembley.
"What I'll do against Everton is what I did against Manchester United the other day," he said. "I will let a few have a break and get some football into people who obviously come into the equation, people like Matty Fryatt.
"We are waiting for McGregor and Aluko, so it's a big day for them today and tomorrow, and also McShane as well. So all of them things are whirring around in my mind at the moment, just to make sure we pick the right formula."comments