Hull City boss Steve Bruce challenges misfiring side to start finding the net again
STEVE Bruce is urging his Hull City attack to recapture their goalscoring touch in the closing weeks of 2012 – and spare him an enforced raid on the January transfer market.
Despite showing marked improvements in front of goal for much of Bruce's reign, the Tigers' age-old deficiencies have threatened to make an unwanted return inside the last week.
A 1-0 defeat to Burnley and a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace meant just one point was gathered from a possible six at the KC Stadium and forced Bruce to admit his side were struggling to show a ruthless edge.
Tomorrow's testing trip to Nottingham Forest will offer City the chance to quickly dispel their manager's fears, but Bruce says the long-term landscape is open to change.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"I haven't really given much thought to January yet," Bruce told the Mail.
"Just because we've missed chances I can't turn around and say I'm off out to buy someone else.
"It doesn't always work out, sometimes buying a new striker is not always the solution.
"Up until the last few weeks it hasn't really been a problem, but there's a danger that it's coming back. We have to improve.
"The chances are there and I hope the players we've got here step up to the plate and start sticking them away."
Asked if he still had faith the solution could be found within his squad, Bruce added: "I hope so. The challenge is there for them because we've got another month before the transfer window opens."
Tuesday's stalemate with Palace was particularly difficult for Bruce to digest after City had dominated their high-flying visitors for much of the contest.
A cast of half a dozen were all culpable as the Tigers missed out on the chance to claw their way up the Championship, but Bruce believes a similar performance will eventually bring reward.
"There was plenty of people guilty in the last week. Nick Proschwitz had one, Stephen Quinn's had a couple, Aaron Mclean and Sone Aluko have had a couple and Robert Koren...well, you'd lay your money on him scoring 99 times out of 100.
"The number of chances we create, someone is going to be on the end of a hiding sooner or later."
Although a return of 27 goals from 19 league games eclipses a tally of 22 at this stage last season, two consecutive blanks make City the lowest scorers in the top six.
The partnership of Aluko and Simpson, who have together contributed 13 of the Tigers' haul, was broken up in the midweek draw with Palace and Bruce said: "I just detected a little bit of fatigue in Jay.
"It's the first time in a long time that he's played so many games week in and week out.
"He's only scored one in the last 10 games and that was obviously a bit of a concern.
"I sensed that the edge had gone off him a little bit so I gave him a rest to freshen him up and hopefully he responds in the right way when his chance comes along.
"Hopefully, we'll see him back firing like he was at the start of the season."