'Hull City need goals from all over the park, not just misfiring strikers'
THE attacking limp commonly known as Hull City's "Achilles heel" was painfully evident when falling to a 1-0 defeat at Brighton on Saturday.
But manager Steve Bruce insist the onus must be on every player to lift the Tigers back to their feet when hosting Derby County tonight.
Despite conceding just eight goals in their last 12 Championship games in a miserly sequence dating back to late November, City's automatic promotion claims have recently been jolted by age-old failings in the final third.
Five league fixtures in 2013 have returned three goals for Bruce's men and placed City's misfiring attack under increasing scrutiny.
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However, the Tigers boss says the whole side must shoulder a share of responsibility and look to make amends when hosting the Rams this evening.
"It's not just about the strikers, I'm not putting the blame on them," said Bruce. "When we've done well this season we've scored from all over the park and those goals have dried up.
"Whether it's wing-backs, midfielders or defenders, we must look to take our chances. We paid the price for not doing that at Brighton.
"Of course it's the forwards who are in the side to score goals but it's a collective responsibility.
"We're not doing an awful lot wrong. I thought we were excellent at Brighton, particularly in the second half, and if we'd taken one of our chances we could have been looking at the win. We looked a real threat."
With their two fit recognised centre forwards Jay Simpson and Nick Proschwitz without a Championship goal since November 6 and October 20 respectively, only Robert Koren and David Meyler have managed to find the net since the turn of the year.
Simpson's ongoing search for a goal now stands at 16 league and cup games and another blank at Brighton could see him withdrawn from the firing line against Derby tonight.
Although new Egyptian striker Gedo made his debut with a 20-minute cameo at the Amex Stadium, his lack of fitness means Proschwitz is at the head of the queue for a start as the Tigers look to climb to second place.
Bruce is still to hear from Peterborough over a potential move for playmaker George Boyd but a fresh attacking option could be back next week with positive progress made by top goalscorer Sone Aluko.
"Sone has been back out on the grass again and doing a bit with the fitness staff," said Bruce.
"We're reluctant to put any timeframe on him. He's feeling better all the time and, touch wood, he can be back over the coming weeks."
Another figure on the periphery of Bruce's squad is Matty Fryatt.
Surgery on an Achilles tendon injury in the Autumn has ruined the striker's season, but City are yet to give up all hope of seeing Fryatt back before the end of the campaign.
"If he does play any part in the season it will be a big ask," said Bruce. "We're certainly not putting any pressure on either player."