Belfast Telegraph

Bruce hopes to see best of Aluko

Hull manager Steve Bruce is hoping fans will soon be able to see the real Sone Aluko make his mark on the Barclays Premier League.

The Nigeria international was arguably the club's best player in the first half of their 2012-13 promotion campaign before missing the rest of the season with an Achilles injury.

Last term was equally frustrating, with his Achilles this time ruling him out for almost four months from October.

But Bruce has never lost faith in a player he first worked with as a teenager at Birmingham, and has been desperate to see him back to form and fitness.

He was handed a chance from the bench against Everton on Tuesday night, courtesy of the knee injury that is likely to sideline Mohamed Diame until the new year, and his response suggested Bruce's wish could be about to come true.

Aluko scored a fine leveller and excelled in support of Nikica Jelavic, who might have won it for Hull had his finish matched Aluko's set-up.

"I was delighted for Sone," said Bruce, who is likely to hand him only a second Premier League start of the season against West Brom on Saturday.

"When I first arrived a couple of years ago he was the outstanding player in the Championship. Unfortunately he damaged his Achilles so badly he missed all the rest of that season and even last year was stop-start.

"In my experience when you've had serious injuries and been out for a year it can take you as long again to be really, really back to being that comfortable. That especially goes if you play like Sone, who is all about twisting and turning and moving.

"But I'm delighted because he's worked extremely hard and stuck at it. I pulled him aside before the Everton game and said he was very unlucky not to start because he did very well as a sub at Old Trafford, which is a good sign.

"I know he's looking forward to the challenge of playing week-in, week-out in the Premier League because he's been blighted by injury. Let's just hope he has a bit of luck because he is a very talented player.

"He's one you enjoy watching because he's a bit different."

Alan Irvine insists he does not fear the West Brom axe after meeting with chairman Jeremy Peace.

The Baggies head coach has thanked Peace for his support as he comes under increasing pressure from supporters.

Albion have lost their last four games and Irvine is favourite for the sack with some bookies but, after talking with Peace, remains unconcerned.

"I spoke to the chairman after training but not about that and he didn't speak to me about that," he said.

"He was great. I went to see him about a completely different matter.

"We spent 15 minutes just chatting over different things and he was great, as he has been all of the time.

"I'm really grateful for the support he's given me.

"I understand the way things are in this job. There's a short-term culture nowadays and, if it's not Alan Pardew getting stick, as he was six or seven weeks ago, it's somebody else.

"If it's me at this time, hopefully I will be able to get to the situation Alan is in because it wasn't that long ago I was at Stoke hearing people calling for his head.

"They are such fine margins. We are not too far away from getting good results.

"I don't think anybody who has been at the last two games can think we are miles away from getting a good result.

"We need some goals."

Captain Chris Brunt is out of the trip with a hamstring injury.

The skipper limped off after making a tackle in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat to West Ham, although Irvine is hopeful he will return next week.

James Morrison (illness) and Sebastien Pocognoli (dead leg) are back but Jonas Olsson (Achilles) is out and Claudio Yacob serves the final game of a ban.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph