Bruce’s boys Abel to im­prove

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Roddy Brooks

HULL man­ager Steve Bruce has called on some of his play­ers to start play­ing to their po­ten­tial sooner rather than later af­ter a last-gasp Jor­dan Rhodes goal de­prived them of two valu­able points.

Hull had looked on course to take all three points af­ter Abel Her­nan­dez gave them the lead in the sec­ond half but Rhodes snatched an equaliser in stop­page time.

Bruce ad­mit­ted it had been a dull game un­til his side took the lead af­ter he changed things and brought on Shaun Maloney and Jake Liver­more – the lat­ter mak­ing his first league ap­pear­ance since May af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for co­caine.

He said: “Too many are not play­ing well enough to what we know they are ca­pa­ble of.

“We ur­gently need play­ers to start per­form­ing the way we know they can. It has been a dif­fi­cult trans­fer win­dow with not know­ing who was stay­ing and who was go­ing. For me for the first 50 min­utes of the match it was like watch­ing paint dry. You’ve got to com­pli­ment Black­burn on the way they came and played with one up front.

“We went long too early and we played too much hope­ful stuff up to the strik­ers.

“It wasn’t un­til we added Maloney and Liver­more that we added that bit of qual­ity the game needed.

“We’ve con­ceded from a cor­ner, which we did last week. It’s what football is and the dif­fi­cult one is two giants of cen­tre backs who my cen­tre backs have to pick up and we’re left with a full-back pick­ing him (Rhodes) up.

“I don’t think we de­served to lose it but we will get bet­ter. We will per­form bet­ter.”

Bruce did, how­ever, save some praise for striker Her­nan­dez who made it four goals in six ap­pear­ances when he side-footed in a low cen­tre from Ahmed El­mo­hamady.

He also re­vealed that Liver­more, who also played an hour in the 1-0 Cap­i­tal One Cup win over Swansea in mid­week, would fig­ure more promi­nently in the Cham­pi­onship cam­paign.

“You can see Her­nan­dez is get­ting a lit­tle bit of con­fi­dence which he needs,” he said.

“We have got to get some­body play­ing with him. I’m pleased for him, he’s got four in six.

“Liver­more has played 90 min­utes. He will train all week and get ready for Not­ting­ham For­est.”

Black­burn man­ager Gary Bowyer, meawhile, praised his side’s bat­tling qual­i­ties and also the preda­tory in­stincts of striker Rhodes.

How­ever, the Black­burn boss was dis­ap­pointed with ref­eree Andy Haines.

He felt the of­fi­cial should have pe­nalised Hull de­fender Curtis Davies just be­fore the home side took the lead.

Bowyer said: “It was no more than we de­served. We came to a strong Premier­ship out­fit and took the game to them.

“We have al­ways got that belief and con­fi­dence we can cre­ate a chance. Jor­dan has got the op­por­tu­nity. He has done bril­liant for the goal.”

Bowyer in­sisted the ref­eree should have even given Davies a red card as Hull broke out to claim the game’s open­ing goal.

“He has got to send Curtis Davies off and he didn’t fancy do­ing that in front of 16,000 fans,” added the Rovers boss.

“It is a foul all day long. To go down the other end of the pitch and to con­cede a goal is a ham­mer blow for us.”

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