Hull keeper Duke extends deal ahead of cup tie
Hull City goalkeeper Matt Duke has signed a one-year contract extension, tying him to the club until 2011.
The 31-year-old recently dislodged Boaz Myhill as first choice at the KC Stadium after several years in the shadows.
Duke, who joined Hull from non-League Burton Albion for £20,000 in 2004, also overcame testicular cancer last year.
Duke said: ''I'm delighted and was more than happy to sign the new contract. I've worked hard over the years and I'm just glad to have been given my chance. The aim now is to stay in the team.''
Meanwhile, Hull midfielder Ryan France believes a scruffy FA Cup win over Sheffield United on Thursday night could provide the spark to reignite the club's season.
Monday's late defeat to Tottenham Hotspur has pushed Hull closer to a relegation scrap in the bottom half of the Premier League.
The Tigers have won just once in 17 league outings and face a crucial home clash with fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.
With that in mind, the FA Cup fifth-round replay against Sheffield United, also at the KC Stadium, could be regarded as a hindrance. But with a quarter-final place up for grabs for the first time since 1971, France hopes it proves the catalyst for a late league push.
France, likely to start against the Blades, said: ''I don't think the spirit has been down even though we have not had the results we have wanted. I am sure one win will put a lot of confidence back in among the lads.
''However we get that win, whether we play really badly and score a goal in the 89th or 90th minute - we just need to get that win to take a bit of pressure off.
''It is another chance for a win. If we win it will give us that extra bit of confidence that we maybe need to take into the league. It's an opportunity to get that confidence and go from there.''
France, having shaken off a thigh problem, is likely to come in as Brown rotates his squad with Sunday's six pointer and next Wednesday's critical trip to Fulham looming large.
The 28-year-old added: ''If I get the nod off the gaffer it's another opportunity to show what I believe I can do. It's quite a lot of games in a short space of time and the minimum we are looking for is four points - that would take us right out of it.
''But I think the lads are playing well enough to get a win or at least a draw.''
France has played in all four divisions for Hull during their remarkable rise from the bottom tier in recent years but has found chances limited in the top flight.
He is out of contract in the summer but is determined to prove he is worth a new deal.
France, who was linked with a loan move to Blackpool in January, said: ''I am just going to try to show the manager I am able to play at this level and hopefully he will reward me with another contract.''