Bruce calls for unity
Published 03/05/2015 | 12:11
Hull City's nail-biting campaign to avoid the drop is being overshadowed by a stand-off between the club's owner Assem Allam and a vocal section of Tiger supporters.
Back-to-back Premier League wins have given Steve Bruce's side real hope of staying up, even if they have to face in-form Arsenal at the KC Stadium on Monday night.
But despite recent good results some fans continue to demand the exit of Allam, who has refused to give up on his ambition to change the club's name to Hull Tigers.
The dispute has intensified after it was revealed Hull have not spent any of the £200,000 Away Supporters Initiative (ASI) money provided from central Premier League coffers on their own fans.
Instead of subsidising away travel, the club say they have spent the money on improving the match experience at the KC Stadium for visiting supporters.
Mark Gretton, chairman of the Hull City Supporters' Trust, said: "We're bitterly disappointed that the club has once again treated its supporters in an utterly disdainful manner, a manner that, sadly, we are becoming used to."
Co-owner Ehab Allam insists the club's policy falls completely within Premier League guidelines but there were chants of "We want Allam out" at Tuesday's 1-0 win over Liverpool and Bruce has appealed for togetherness for the final few matches of the season.
Bruce said: "Without the owner, let alone not having a team that beats Liverpool, we would not even have a bus.
"Away fans has been the next debate and has provided this undercurrent for the protests. But I keep reminding people that without the owner and something like £70million of his own money there wouldn't be a club. It's frustrating for him, disappointing.
"For goodness' sake, let's go forward together."
Bruce is certain to keep faith with the same line-up that beat Liverpool and Crystal Palace before that, including a remarkable swansong from 40-year-old keeper Steve Harper who has been outstanding since being brought in to replace an out-of-form Allan McGregor.
Bruce added: "He's certainly a calm customer who over two years has never let us down. His experience and positioning has proved what a very, very good goalkeeper he is.
"He can't play week in and week out for a season but he's been a terrific signing when Allan has lost a bit of form."
Bruce should have striker Nikica Jelavic back on the bench against Arsenal - the Croatian striker has been sidelined since having surgery on a knee problem in March.