Belfast Telegraph

Bruce ready for 'must win' tie

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes Saturday's match with Cardiff is one both clubs will have highlighted as a must win at the start of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

The last time the sides met at the KC Stadium was the final day of Championship season - a dramatic 2-2 draw capped by a tense period of injury-time that saw Hull miss a penalty and Cardiff score one.

That result was still enough to send the Tigers up in second behind their title-winning opponents, though, and both sides now share the goal of preserving their top-flight status.

Cardiff have already beaten Manchester City, while Hull impressed in patches against the same opponents just before the international break, but Bruce insists it is fixtures such as this that will define each side's season.

"It's a big game for us, but I'm sure they'll say the same. Cardiff came up with us and they'll have put it down as one of their fixtures to get something from," said Bruce.

"Cardiff are a good side and they proved to be the best side in the Championship last year. Since then they've added to their squad well, spent a lot of money to improve and they're going to make a big fist of it.

"Talk about must-win games...it's against opposition who you think will be around you at the end of the season. If you can turn those teams over it's a big feather in your cap and can help you enormously.

"We identified the first four or five home games. For any side in the bottom half it's about 'can you pick up the points at home?'

"But Cardiff won the Championship at a canter in the finish and they've added well. They'll be difficult to beat but the way we have played so far has encouraged us."

Bruce is without summer signing Yannick Sagbo, who serves the last of a three-game suspension following his sending off against Norwich, meaning Danny Graham should get another chance to impress up front.

As a centre-forward with Premier League experience Graham will be an important player in the coming weeks, with Hull having failed to secure a deadline-day deal for West Brom's Shane Long.

The club did manage to bring last year's loan signing Gedo back on a season-long deal from Egyptian outfit Al Ahly, but he is still battling visa issues.

Civil unrest in his home country means that process is far from straightforward.

"The British Embassy is shut apparently, it is in a place where a lot of the trouble is so they have to send passports to Dubai then get them sent back somewhere," said Bruce.

"He's trying desperately bless him, he's trying to get his visa and you're not allowed in without it.

"The last I heard he was trying to get to Dubai himself to rush things up."

Asked if he had a clear idea of when to expect the striker, a rueful Bruce joked: "If we'll see him by Christmas, I'm not so sure."

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