Robert Koren 'refreshed' for Hull City's match with Blackburn Rovers
HULL City boss Steve Bruce says he will be able to call upon a refreshed Robert Koren when the Tigers look to complete a hat-trick of home wins as Blackburn Rovers visit the KC Stadium tomorrow night.
City’s influential captain and second top scorer was dropped to the bench for a Championship fixture for only the second time in his Tigers’ career as a valuable 1-0 win was secured against Charlton on Saturday.
The last time Koren was named as a substitute for a league game was his City debut at Millwall in August 2010.
Only defender James Chester has started more league games than the playmaker this season and Bruce pointed towards fatigue as a factor in the veteran’s noticeable dip in form since the turn of the year.
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A lively cameo in the final 19 minutes of Saturday’s win showed Koren’s creative guile has not diminished and Bruce has left the door open for his return tomorrow.
“It’s quite simple really, Robbie Koren has played as much as anyone this season,” Bruce explained.
“Statistics tell me over the last couple of games that fatigue has set in a little bit and with a game on Tuesday we needed to freshen him up.
“You can’t play to a level in this league and expect to play well every game, especially when you’re a forward who needs a bit of energy.
“Sometimes a rest is just what you need and he’ll come back into my plans for Tuesday.”
Koren’s omission has set the stage for deadline-day signing Gedo to flourish.
As well as making way for the Egyptian at half-time in the 2-1 win over Derby on Tuesday, with Gedo scoring 90 seconds later, the new signing was back on the scoresheet to sink Charlton with the only goal of the game.
Gedo’s impact has delighted Bruce and he said: “He’s got a bit of everything. He’s quick, he’s a good size and he holds it up very well. He’s shown he knows where the goal is too.
“You don’t have the record he’s got for Egypt if you’re a mug.
“It’s a football-mad nation and you’ve got to have something about you to play for them.
“It’s been a wonderful start but the challenge is to maintain it now. Can he come and adapt and perform consistently?
“Having his mates here will help and the owner will make his life as easy as he possibly can.”
Gedo was joined by fellow Al Ahly loan recruit Ahmed Fathi for the final third of Saturday’s win.
Fathi replaced Paul McShane, whose hamstring injury looks set to rule him out of facing Blackburn, to play as a holding midfielder on his debut and Bruce accepts his introduction may require more patience.
“He found it tough because it’s never easy coming on as sub,” he added.
“He’ll have to get used to the tempo. He’s used to having players play in front of him rather than ‘crash’ over your head. He got lost a little bit, but overall I feel he did okay.”