Goal hero Nick Proschwitz will start for Hull City at Middlesbrough
STEVE Bruce admits he has been left with no choice but to reward Nick Proschwitz with a start when Hull City travel to Middlesbrough tomorrow night.
Proschwitz was the Tigers' saviour against Ipswich on Saturday as he emerged off the bench to score a match-winning brace and seal a dramatic 2-1 victory at the KC.
A cool side-foot finish and a deft header deep in stoppage time finally showcased the talents that convinced Bruce to shell out £2.6m to bring Proschwitz from SC Paderborn in July.
The City boss now wants this to be just the start for his marquee summer signing and will have no hesitation promoting Proschwitz back into his starting XI at the Riverside.
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"If we're going to be successful, you're going to need more than two strikers," Bruce told the Mail.
"I probably have to start Nick on Tuesday now. He's waited for his chance and now he's grabbed it.
"It was two great finishes but that was never in question. He's just had to try and adapt to the intensity and ferocity of football in the Championship.
"I'm thrilled for Nick that it's eventually happened for him. It hasn't been easy. Let's hope this can just be the start for him."
Although an in-form strike-force of Sone Aluko and Jay Simpson has bagged eight goals to keep Proschwitz and Aaron Mclean on the substitutes' bench since August, the pair have both staked a claim for starts by inspiring wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich in the last two games.
Bruce has shown faith in players who have taken their chances this season and the same dilemma can be found in his defensive ranks.
Although last year's outstanding performer James Chester was fit enough to face Ipswich on Saturday, he was forced to settle for a place on the bench behind Abdoulaye Faye and Paul McShane.
McShane, in particular, vindicated that decision with another sound performance in defence, and Bruce believes a loyalty to his top performers will nurture team spirit.
"Chester was fit after training for three or four days and he's a very good player," said Bruce. "But I had to stay with the people who had done very well for me. I believe that's how you create spirit. If you got a chance and you do well, then you stay in.
"To create a spirit sometimes you just have to stick with people and McShane had done nothing wrong in his two games. He deserved to stay in.
"He's arguably been the best player in the two games he'd played before. I couldn't drop him after that."
Despite battles raging across his squad for places in the starting XI, Bruce admitted he may yet make moves in the transfer market.
With Matty Fryatt not expected to play again this season due to his Achilles injury and question marks hanging over Joe Dudgeon's knee injury, City may choose to be active before the loan window closes next month.
However, any interest in Stoke midfielder Wilson Palacios appears set to draw a blank with Bruce playing down the prospects.
He said: "He's a player I like and someone I've worked with before. If there's a chance of him being available of course I'd be interested, but it's not gone any further than that."