ALEX BRUCE is ready to renew acquaintance with Huddersfield Town and Simon Grayson on Saturday lunchtime and believes Hull have what it takes to keep his old boss waiting for a ninth win of the Championship campaign.
Former Birmingham and Ipswich centre-back Bruce played three times in League I for Town this time last year after being loaned out from Leeds, where Grayson was manager.
The 28-year-old, who has switched international allegiance to Northern Ireland from the Republic, joined up with dad Steve Bruce, the former Town chief, at the KC Stadium this summer.
He’s featured in 17 league games for a side who are fourth in the table after consecutive away wins at Nottingham Forest and Watford.
Regaining the Premier League place lost in 2010 is the aim for Hull, promoted from the basement division alongside Town in 2004.
Hull’s frailties were exposed during busy spells of last season, as one win from nine games around March severely dented their promotion chances.
But with key squad members Jack Hobbs and Tom Cairney back in contention after lengthy lay-offs, Bruce is optimistic about the frantic festive period of five games up to and including New Year’s Day.
“The squad is the big thing, the teams who do well are always the ones with strength in depth,” said Bruce, who features in a three-man central defensive line.
“We’ll need everyone with the Christmas period coming up. There is competition for places here, and if you are going to be successful at any club you need that variety.
“I’ve no doubt the squad will be used because my experience at this level tells me that. Everyone will play a part and we all have to stay positive, even the lads who are not playing.”
Strikers Matty Fryatt and Sone Aluko (both Achilles) and defender Joe Dudgeon (knee) are Hull’s absentees, and Bruce continued: “If you look at Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, they pick different starting sides each week to suit the opposition they are playing.
“They can do that because their squad is so strong and that’s a good position to be in as you keep your squad fresh.
“It’s frustrating sometimes as you want to play every game, but realistically it is impossible to do that. That’s the headache for the manager, deciding what players to pick one week to the next.
“When the team is winning it is difficult to get back in the team, that’s the way football is. It’s a healthy problem to have.”