Peter Swan: Hull City squad is stronger than 2008 and has to be used
STEVE Bruce is in a great position at this time of year with the strength of squad he has at his disposal.
The majority of the first team picks itself with just one or two changes needed here and there week to week.
If Sone Aluko is fit he will come straight back into Saturday's team at the expense of Aaron Mclean.
But as we have seen this season, when results go against City, Bruce is willing to give others a chance and then stick with them if they do well.
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We've not seen a lot of Paul McKenna lately, and that may be the case in the weeks to come as he has a fight on his hands to get back in the side.
However, he has a role to play, especially over the festive period.
He is a player who can come off the bench for the last 15 minutes if the Tigers are leading and help them close the game out. He's a steady-away player that every team needs to stop the opposition from winning games.
He adds quality to the bench for Bruce, who now has an abundance of midfielders to choose from.
McKenna was joined on the bench by Seyi Olofinjana last week at Forest, and now Tom Cairney is close to making his return.
Defensively, City look solid with James Chester, Paul McShane and Alex Bruce holding the three starting places.
Abdoulaye Faye is also in contention every week, and now captain Jack Hobbs is back in the mix for selection.
If City beat Watford and keep a clean sheet then Hobbs will have to wait for his return to the first team, and that in itself shows good squad strength.
I read Phil Buckingham's piece in the Mail earlier this week highlighting how Bruce has taken eight more points from his first 20 games than Phil Brown did in the promotion-winning season. This is definitely a better squad than the one that won at Wembley in 2008.