Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time for EMBATTLEDTIGERS to Dig Deep, Says Defender

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time for EMBATTLEDTIGERS to Dig Deep, Says Defender

Article excerpt

Byline: Rory Dollard

ALEX Bruce believes it is time for relegation-threatened Hull to show their "mongrel" side.

The Tigers are winless in their last 10 outings, lie second bottom of the Barclays Premier League table and head to Sunderland today missing a host of senior players.

First-choice midfield trio Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and Mohamed Diame are all absent through either suspension or injury, with Michael Dawson nursing a torn hamstring and captain Curtis Davies doubtful with a calf problem. But Bruce is not taking the situation lying down and wants those who are left standing to throw themselves into the task.

"We're down to the bare bones but we have strength in depth in this squad and it's important for those who come in to do well and grab the shirt," he said.

"The mongrels, and I'd probably be classed as one of them, have got to stand up and be counted. It's a tough patch for us but a lot of Premier League teams, and bigger clubs than us, have been through it. It's time to roll your sleeves up, dig deep and come out fighting."

Despite personnel problems, exacerbated by Hatem Ben Arfa's persona-non-gratis status and Paul McShane's current exile, a trip to the Stadium of Light followed by a home clash with Leicester 48 hours later represent a real chance to gather points. And Bruce knows it is one that must not slip away. "The table is still very tight and a couple of wins back to back shoots us up the table," he said.

"Certainly we've got games coming up where we can pick up wins an we hope we can do that.

"Sunderland will be flying high after winning the derby in the last minute but we did well against them last season and we'll go there with all guns blazing."

Despite his positivity, Bruce was not short on reasons for his side's current predicament. …

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