Hull's players have anointed newly-arrived Mike Phelan as the Barclays Premier League's first "assistant manager of the month".

Phelan began work as Steve Bruce's right-hand man just a week ago but his arrival has coincided with an immediate upturn in form for the Tigers.

Having spent the majority of his coaching career hunting silverware alongside Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Hull's relegation battle represented unfamiliar territory for Phelan.

But he has thrown himself into the task and the initial results, a surprise 1-1 draw at Manchester City at the weekend followed by Tuesday's crucial 2-0 win over Aston Villa, have helped Hull climb out of the bottom three.

And Phelan's early impact has not gone unnoticed among the players.

"Mike's been really good already, we've just been saying in the dressing room he's going to win the first assistant manager of the month!" defender Paul McShane said.

"He's done very well, the sessions we've had with him have been really good.

"He's brought something new and different to the group and training has been intense.

"It's been tough but the lads are really putting it all in during training and that's showing out on the pitch.

"It's been a great few days because if we didn't back up what we did at City it would have been a waste. But we've built on that result and got the three points at home."

McShane's return to action has been another common theme in Hull's last two performances.

The club's longest-serving player appeared to be heading for a January exit after being sent to train with the Under-21s by Bruce for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, but relations have thawed and McShane has ousted Curtis Davies from the side.

He admits he expected to leave and is delighted to be back in favour.

"Football, it's mad, it's a crazy game sometimes," he said.

"I thought I'd played my last game for Hull. I was prepared to leave in the transfer window.

"But I didn't want to go, no way, it felt wrong to think about going, and now it's great to be back playing, especially in a couple of good games with some big results."