Wednesday 21 February 2018

Bruce backs N'Doye for big things

Boss Steve Bruce hopes Dame N'Doye, left, can fire the goals to keep Hull City in the Premier League
Boss Steve Bruce hopes Dame N'Doye, left, can fire the goals to keep Hull City in the Premier League

Dame N'Doye threw away £500,000-a-year to join Hull City - now boss Steve Bruce has backed the Senegal striker to earn it all back by securing Premier League safety.

Five years after red tape thwarted Bruce's bid to sign N'Doye at Sunderland in 2010, the 30-year-old's goals might just keep Hull in the top flight.

N'Doye's second-half brace claimed Hull a vital 2-0 Premier League win at Crystal Palace on Saturday, leaving Bruce's men with five games to stave off the drop.

Manager Bruce believes N'Doye deserves the reward of spearheading Hull's survival fight, following his decision to place career advancement over cash when leaving Lokomotiv Moscow in January.

"It was worth all the hard work to sign him, I've never seen anybody take as big a pay cut as what Dame did," said Bruce.

"He wanted to play in England, footballers are often criticised for being mercenary, and he took a substantial wage cut to come and join us.

"I'm so pleased he did, and hopefully he will get it back, we'll get the money back to him, because if he keeps producing like he did today then he'll earn a new contract, either with us or somewhere else.

"He was in Paris for a week but I flew on deadline day, met him in a hotel and thankfully we got there.

"Of course I had to persuade him.

"I think the big attraction that we must never underestimate is that the lure of the Premier League is huge, and the boy wanted to play in it.

"And all over Senegal people will be absolutely delighted.

"I saw him five years ago playing for Copenhagen, I tried to buy him then, I couldn't because of a work permit, and he went to Moscow.

"So I've got him at 30 not at 25, but he's been worth it."

N'Doye's five goals in 10 games have bridged the gap while Nikica Jelavic has continued to fight knee problems.

Bruce hopes former Everton striker Jelavic and midfielder Mo Diame can overcome their knee issues to feature in Hull's daunting run-in.

Hull face Liverpool on Tuesday, with Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all still ahead, with Saturday's victory just keeping them out of the drop-zone.

"You can't be confident because it's been so serious, and the same with Diame, but we are hopeful on both of them," said Bruce.

"We thought Diame was fit on Monday and unfortunately he was sore again on Tuesday and Wednesday, so he couldn't be involved.

"We've been unfortunate, (Robert) Snodgrass, Diame, Jelavic, they are all £8million players who've missed most of the season, which has been frustrating.

"It certainly helps that four of our five games left are at home.

"If you look at our record in the Premier League, away from home it's been very difficult the last couple of years, and that's where it is.

"If you're at the bottom half of the division you'll find it very difficult away from home.

"I hope we can produce performances like that over the next month, because if we do then we'll give ourselves a chance."

Press Association

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