Bruce: No truth to reports of Long pursuit

Rory Dollard

STEVE BRUCE has apologised to West Brom and Sunderland for reports linking his club Hull with moves for Shane Long and Steven Fletcher.

With the January transfer window now open, speculation is rife over potential deals involving Premier League sides, but Bruce insists recent reports about the Tigers' hunt for a striker have been wide of the mark.

There were suggestions earlier this week that Bruce had lodged a bid for Sunderland's Fletcher, while the club issued a formal statement yesterday dismissing reports that West Brom's Long – who was close to becoming a Hull player in September – was due in East Yorkshire for a medical after terms had been agreed.

Bruce is interested in Long, who travelled to Hull by private jet on deadline day in the summer only for the Baggies to pull the plug, but insists there is nothing concrete as yet and is unhappy with inaccuracies being spread.

"First and foremost I really want to try and apologise to West Brom as a club, nothing has come from us and the same goes for another 'bid' for another striker. We haven't bid for anyone yet," he said.

"The way Twitter is, it happens, but to be so far wide of the mark is ridiculous and it causes us a big problem because we've spent half the morning apologising to the respective clubs and we've got nothing to do with it.

"Two days before Long it was an £18million for Fletcher, another load of nonsense."

Despite Bruce's frustration, he will surely be making contact before the window expires about Republic of Ireland international Long. But the issue was muddied slightly by tweets attributed to Long's wife Kayleah, suggesting he would not be leaving the Midlands club.

In a message on her account she said: "Not going anywhere! Told Shane happy here & with baby on way it not worth the stress when still in contract! He agreed?? #happydays." Bruce added: "Make no mistake I'm not one for Twitter, it's not on my scene, but we'd all be lying if we said our wives didn't have an influence."

Bruce also revealed that Ireland defender Paul McShane will be missing for up to a month after injuring his ankle in the FA Cup third round victory over Middlesbrough last Saturday.