Hull City's Alex Bruce: 'I'll be scrutinised, but my only focus is on playing well'
ALEX Bruce accepts his Hull City career will be heavily scrutinised as the son of manager Steve, but insists any accusations of favouritism will be "water off a duck's back."
The 27-year-old signed a two-year deal at the KC Stadium on Monday, celebrating a reunion with his father six years after they last worked together at Birmingham City.
Bruce junior can expect to shoulder a heavy burden as the manager's son and will see his progress monitored under the microscope when the Championship season kicks off in 15 days.
However, the former Ipswich and Leeds centre-back has shrugged off charges of nepotism and says his only focus is on earning a place in his father's plans on merit.
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"I've had it all my life," Bruce told the Mail. "When I signed for Ipswich it was people asking how I was going to cope with being the son of a Norwich legend.
"When I signed for Leeds it was 'how's he going to cope with being a former Manchester United player's son?'.
"I've had circumstances before where the spotlight's been put on me because of who my Dad is, and I suppose that will be the same here.
"But it's always been water off a duck's back. I don't spend time thinking about it, my only focus is on playing well for my team. "Once I cross the white line all that criticism means nothing."
Bruce has spent the majority of pre-season training with the Tigers after he was released by Leeds at the end of June.
Initially teaming up with the City squad for their warm-weather camp in Portugal, he went on to feature in friendlies against North Ferriby, Winterton and Rochdale before his signing was announced this week.
Bruce credits the reception of his new team-mates as a key incentive to joining City after concerns over his acceptance were immediately allayed.
"I wondered if the lads would take to me with the situation as it is but to be fair, they've been great," he said.
"I've been treated like one of their own, not the manager's son. That's the way I'd always like it to be.
"Because the lads have been so good with me, that's one of the big reasons why it felt like the right move."
Bruce turned down opportunities from Greek side PAOK and another Championship club in favour of joining the Tigers and he could be rewarded with a leading role in the opening month.
A long-term lay-off for Jack Hobbs and the cautious progress of Abdoulaye Faye through pre-season leaves Bruce fighting it out with Liam Cooper and Sonny Bradley to team up with James Chester in central defence.
Another chance to stake his claims will come when City head to Hartlepool tomorrow and Bruce has stressed he will not settle for a place on the periphery.
"There's good competition for places but I've not come here to be a sub or a squad player," he added.
"I've seen comments saying I've come here to a fill a hole but I've come here to fight as hard as anyone for regular football.
"I'm confident that if I play to the best of my ability I know I can keep the shirt."