Sunday 18 March 2018

Bruce plays down sack talk

Steve Bruce's Hull are struggling to stay in the Premier League
Steve Bruce's Hull are struggling to stay in the Premier League

Hull boss Steve Bruce has dismissed speculation that his job may be under threat and vowed to fight on in a bid to rescue the Tigers from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Last week's abject 3-0 home defeat to Newcastle was the club's third in succession and left them rooted in the bottom three ahead of Saturday's daunting trip to Manchester City.

But, after a week which saw the respective arrivals of Lokomotiv Moscow striker Dame N'Doye and new assistant boss Mike Phelan, Bruce is confident he has got the backing required to help him beat the drop.

Bruce said: "The one thing I'll never do is take anything for granted and, with the expectation we have built up at this club, we are now in the bottom three and that is a problem.

"But I think if I was in trouble the chairman would tell me. He has backed me with a new assistant manager and a forward so if he was going to get rid of me I think he'd have done it before I brought them in.

"I can't worry about it. If it happens it's not my decision, but one thing's for sure - we've worked extremely hard for the last couple of years and I am not going to give it up without a fight."

Bruce conceded it is "very unlikely" N'Doye will be in a position to make his debut against the champions as he remains in Paris while officials seek to sort out his work permit and international clearance.

But as his injury problems continue to ease, Bruce can see no reason why his new signing should not spearhead a return to the early season form which had Bruce's name often touted for departure for rather different reasons.

"He (N'Doye) is big, strong and physically powerful. I watched him a lot in Copenhagen a few years ago but we couldn't get into the country because of his work permit," Bruce added.

"His goalscoring record is very impressive and the big question is if he can come and adapt to the Premier League. Certainly his goalscoring record in Copenhagen and Moscow is terrific."

Nikica Jelavic is a doubt for the trip to City as he continues to struggle with a knee injury while there is promising news on influential midfielder Mohamed Diame whom Bruce hopes to have back in action by the end of the month.

Diame's return would be a welcome boost to a side who seem to be slipping into trouble and alarmed Bruce for their abject surrender against the Magpies last week having made such a promising start to the game.

Bruce said: "We've got to get over the disappointment of last week and eradicate those silly little errors.

"We have got to roll our sleeves up and show that bit of form and there is no better game for us to go and play.

"I hope we can have a response from everybody because what we witnessed in the second half last week was simply not good enough, and we all understand and realise we are better than that."

Press Association

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