Hull City: Jay Simpson 'has thrown down gauntlet' to Nick Proschwitz, says Steve Bruce
STEVE Bruce admits the rebirth of Jay Simpson has provided Hull City with a huge attacking lift in the opening month of the new season.
A return to prominence under Bruce saw Simpson handed his first Championship start for the Tigers since May 2011 at the weekend, and the striker made the most of his break by helping City to a 3-1 win over Bolton Wanderers.
Although the 23-year-old could not find his third goal of the season, an impressive performance, typified by an assist for Stephen Quinn’s debut strike, earned him a standing ovation when substituted late in the game.
Simpson’s bright start to the season has forced him ahead of £2.6m summer signing Nick Proschwitz and Bruce was full of praise for the Tigers’ once forgotten forward.
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“The easy decision would have been to play big Nick because we’ve paid a lot of money for him, but Jay has been as sharp as a tack since I’ve been here,” Bruce said.
“Jay’s been out of the equation for a while here but he’s rolled his sleeves up and enjoyed the challenge of a new manager coming in.
“He has come from nowhere to throw down the gauntlet to all the strikers.
“Jay’s performance in midweek (against Doncaster) was excellent and he’s certainly grasped another opportunity.
“I think he enjoyed playing with Sone Aluko. There was a bit of pace and movement which the big guys don’t like. You could see by the ovation Jay got around the stadium that the supporters enjoyed his performance.”
Simpson’s rise has coincided with a fall for Proschwitz, who has been an unused substitute in City’s last two games.
Saturday’s emphatic win over Bolton, sealed by goals from Aluko, Abdoulaye Faye and Quinn, suggests Proschwitz may now need to be patient before his next chance arises.
“We need him to settle down and get accustomed to being in England,” said Bruce.
“It can take time for foreign players to settle. We’re hopeless, the English, we’re the world’s worst at it. That’s why not many of us are playing abroad, we struggle to adapt.
“Nick just needs time but I can only pick who is playing well and competition is always my biggest weapon.”
Bruce added that Aluko’s calf injury, that forced him off late in the game, was not serious but he will hope to see four of his first-team squad return from international duty unscathed ahead of the next Championship fixture with Millwall on September 15.
New boy Ahmed Elmohamady has jetted off to Cairo for Egypt’s friendlies with Benin on Friday and Cameroon next Tuesday, while Corry Evans has been named in Northern Ireland’s squad for World Cup qualifiers with Russia and Luxembourg over the next eight days.
Ben Amos will team up with England under-21s for games with Azerbaijan and Norway, and Paul McShane meets up with his Republic of Ireland team-mates to face Kazakhstan on Friday.