Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Bruce: We're halfway there

Steve Bruce knows his side cannot take their foot off the pedal
Steve Bruce knows his side cannot take their foot off the pedal

Hull boss Steve Bruce has expressed his satisfaction at his side reaching 20 points this term - but stressed that their job is only half done.

The Tigers, who were promoted to the Barclays Premier League in May and widely tipped ahead of this season to be relegated straight back to the Sky Bet Championship, made it to the milestone points tally on Saturday when they drew 1-1 at West Brom, their 17th fixture of the campaign.

At this stage they look on course for survival, given 40 points is generally viewed as the total that will guarantee safety and Hull - currently 12th in the table - still have 21 games to play.

Bruce is certainly not about to take anything for granted, though.

After the game at The Hawthorns, in which the hosts equalised in the 86th minute, he said: "It would have been lovely to have 22 points.

"But getting 20 points by Christmas - if someone had said that to us at the start, then we would have been delighted.

"We are halfway there, but we have to repeat the whole thing in the second half of the season."

He added: "It is always difficult for a newly-promoted club, but we are making a fist of it and you can see from the way they (his players) play that they are a delight to work with.

"They roll their sleeves up, have a go and they are enjoying playing in the Premier League.

"Hopefully we can bring one or two in to give a bit of quality in January. But overall I am delighted."

One player Hull may look to recruit in the forthcoming winter transfer window is West Brom striker Shane Long, who had appeared set to make the switch on the final day of the last window.

Talks took place over a deal, but it failed to materialise and Bruce has indicated he may well try again to sign the Republic of Ireland international.

But with Albion having recently sacked head coach Steve Clarke and Long therefore set to be soon working under a new boss, Bruce is keeping an open mind on the subject.

He said: "A new head coach will come in and who knows?

"If he became available, then I would love to try to do something.

"But we thought we had a deal on deadline day and it didn't quite happen.

"We'll see what the situation is, but we'll respect the fact that he is a West Brom player."

Hull took a deserved lead in the 28th minute of Saturday's contest when Jake Livermore, who is on loan from Tottenham, finished off a counter-attack.

During his celebration, the midfielder kicked a camera set up behind the goal and he was subsequently contacted via Twitter by the owner of the equipment, photographer Richard Heathcote.

Heathcote's message included a picture of the broken "£6k" camera and said: "where do you want me to send the repair bill?"

Livermore responded with a message saying "apologies mate will sort camera no problem", adding that he would donate the same amount it cost to the charity fundraising efforts of his Hull team-mate Tom Huddlestone.

The late leveller for West Brom - playing for the first time since Clarke's dismissal and overseen by caretaker head coach Keith Downing - came from the boot of substitute Matej Vydra.

It was Vydra's maiden Albion goal and Downing later paid tribute to the Czech Republic striker, who joined on loan from Udinese over the summer, saying: "He's waited a long time.

"He's been persevering in training.

"He's had a few niggles here and there and it's a big step for him, a massive boost.

"I'm pleased for him because he's a good lad and works hard during the week.

"He took his opportunity to score very well.

"Once he gets in those one-v-one situations he is a very good finisher."

The point was Albion's first in five games and they remain 16th in the table, three points above the relegation zone.

Press Association

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