Bruce says he's ready for flak over North debut

Aidan Fitzmaurice

FORMER Republic of Ireland international Alex Bruce says he's expecting some flak if he makes his senior debut for Northern Ireland tomorrow.

The Hull City man won two caps for the Republic between 2007-08 and was an unused sub on six other occasions under Steve Staunton and Giovanni Trapattoni, but last year he opted to switch to Northern Ireland, qualifying as his paternal grandmother was from Co Down.

Bruce's switch to Northern Ireland has not been universally welcomed across the border and Bruce admits he may get some stick if Michael O'Neill picks him in the friendly away to Malta.

"I'm not naive enough to say I'm not aware of it but for me what's in the past is in the past and I'm just looking forward to the future," said Bruce.


"I've declared myself for Northern Ireland. Michael's given me a fantastic opportunity to play international football. Being a footballer's a short career so I'm going to make the most of the opportunity and hopefully do as well as I can.

"My granny's from Bangor so I always knew, when I hadn't played a competitive game [for the Republic] that I was still available, and when that phone call came I had a long think about it," he said.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hunt took another step forward in his recovery from injury last night as he played 45 minutes for Wolves in a reserve game.

The 31-year-old, who had been out of action for four months due to a hip injury, managed a sub appearance for the first team last week and boss Dean Saunders was pleased to see Hunt emerge unscathed from last night's match, a 1-0 defeat to West Brom.