Belfast Telegraph

Bruce denies Ben Arfa bust-up

Hull boss Steve Bruce has denied reports of a bust-up with Hatem Ben Arfa despite leaving the on-loan midfielder out of his squad for the Barclays Premier League bore draw with West Brom.

Bruce hauled Ben Arfa off after just 35 minutes of last week's 3-0 defeat at Manchester United and also left him out for the midweek draw at Everton.

But despite accusing Ben Arfa of "not hurting enough" during the Old Trafford defeat, Bruce insisted he is yet to make a decision on whether to extend Ben Arfa's loan spell which is due to run out in January.

Bruce said: "There's no bust-up - of course he's not happy about being taken off but he's got to be treated like everyone else and win his spurs back by trying hard and getting back in the team.

"He didn't hurt enough at Old Trafford to be among the substitutes at Goodison Park or today. His attitude is okay and I haven't got any problems with his personality but he simply has to roll his sleeves up and work for the cause.

"There is no disputing he has got ability but ability is not enough at this level so he will be treated like everyone else. We will see what December and January brings and I will sit down with him and see where we are."

Bruce admitted his side had endured another frustrating afternoon which but for the heroics of goalkeeper Allan McGregor could have been worse.

McGregor saved a ninth-minute penalty from Graham Dorrans and also pulled off a magnificent stop to keep out Craig Gardner's second half free-kick.

Bruce added: "I'm still convinced we've got enough in the squad to be better than we were last season and we have got enough to see us through."

West Brom boss Alan Irvine stood by his decision to drop Saido Berahino to the bench and said he hoped the striker would come back stronger from his recent lean spell.

Irvine said: "Saido is a young player and we have asked an awful lot of him this year.

"He has done really well overall but everyone could see in recent weeks things had gone off for him and he was struggling to find the form he'd had at the start of the season.

"I made the decision to take him out of the firing line to some extent, give him a bit of a breather and take a little bit of that pressure off him.

"Hopefully it will be good for him and he will respond. I have no doubt his form will return but like any striker you will go through spells where you don't play quite as well."

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