Hull City's big advantage over relegation rivals Sunderland and Newcastle

Hull City KC Stadium

Three teams are locked in a battle to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League, but Hull have one small factor on their side.

After the weekend's games, Hull City remain two points adrift of safety having lost 2-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, while Newcastle let a 1-0 lead slip across London, and ended up losing 2-1 at Queen's Park Rangers. Sunderland drew 0-0 at home with Leicester, a point that made the Foxes safe, but left the Black Cats still feeling nervous.

Hull manager Steve Bruce now knows that his team must beat Manchester United next Sunday to have any chance of staying up, and even then they must rely on other results going their way. However, the respective goal difference of the three relegation-haunted teams could easily come in to play.

Bruce will take heart that Hull have the best goal difference of the three clubs still in the relegation mire. Hull have a -18 goal difference, while Sunderland have - 20 and Newcastle - 25. This means that if Hull were to win against Manchester United and other results left all three teams level on points, Hull would definitely have the better goal difference.

Speaking to Hull City's official website, Bruce said: “Defensively, as our goal difference has proved, we are the best out of the bottom lot."

The much-travelled boss rued missed chances at White Hart Lane on Saturday, but is hopeful a stronger defensive backbone may make the difference. He added: "Our Achilles heel of course is always to try and score a goal. We've come to Tottenham, who are fifth or sixth in the league and had five or six great opportunities and we haven't taken them.”

Now, if Sunderland lose both their remaining games - away at Arsenal and Chelsea - and Newcastle either lose or draw at home to West Ham, this means a Hull City win will leave all three teams level on 37 points, but Hull will definitely have the best goal difference and be safe. Who then goes down out of Newcastle and Sunderland will depend on the severity of Sunderland's defeats. 

Fine margins and small comfort perhaps, but it will provide extra motivation for Bruce's troops ahead of the crunch Manchester United game.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch