Steve Bruce: My Hull City side can last the pace
HULL City boss Steve Bruce feels he has assembled a squad capable of lasting the pace in the Championship promotion battle – despite seeing DJ Campbell slip the net on a hectic final day in the January transfer window.
It looked like Campbell was all set for a move to the Tigers until he rejected the offer in favour of a lucrative deal with Blackburn Rovers.
But in a further twist, it appears that Rovers then failed to lodge the paperwork before the 11pm deadline- meaning the deal is now unlikely to be approved.
The Tigers were one of the busiest clubs in the division ahead of last night's deadline as they tied up loan deals to welcome three Egyptian internationals to the KC Stadium.
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As well as re-signing influential winger Ahmed Elmohamady from Sunderland until the end of the season, a double swoop for Al Ahly striker Gedo and defender Ahmed Fathi was also completed subject to international clearance.
The three new additions have significantly bolstered City's promotion-chasing squad ahead of the final 18 games, but Bruce was still left frustrated as a move for Campbell was dramatically hijacked by Blackburn Rovers.
Despite arriving in East Yorkshire for a medical yesterday morning, the 31-year-old turned down the Tigers in favour of a lucrative two-and-a-half year contract at Ewood Park- a move which now looks unlikely to go through.
City's failure to land a recognised striker came as a blow to Bruce, but a fruitful January which has also included deals for David Meyler, Robbie Brady and David Stockdale gives the Tigers boss heart for the remainder of the season.
"We've got to be satisfied with the business we've done," Bruce told the Mail.
"You've got to look at what we've done over the month. Making sure we held on to Brady, Melyer, Stockdale and Elmohamady was our main priority and that's what we've managed to achieve.
"We've kept a very good side intact and we've added to it by bringing in two experienced internationals. I'm sure Gedo and Fathi will be terrific acquisitions for us.
"The squad we've got here has given us a great chance of promotion and there's no reason why that can't continue."
Although the arrival of six players this month has boosted City's hopes of returning to the Premier League, Bruce was unable to land the proven striker he craved throughout January.
A swoop for Campbell had initially looked like bringing a pleasing end to his search yesterday, but Blackburn's late intervention scuppered all hopes of a deal.
"As a manager you're always greedy and there was a time when I was convinced DJ was ours," said Bruce.
"He's gone for what he sees as a better offer and that's up to him. We'll move on quickly and look towards finishing the job we've started."
Elmohamady will go straight into the travelling squad to face Millwall tomorrow and Bruce called a second loan deal for the right winger a "fantastic piece of business."
Although City always had the insurance of re-signing the right wing-back on an emergency loan, his return to the KC Stadium now has no further recall option available to the Black Cats.
The double swoop for Al Ahly pair Gedo and Fathi was also finalised yesterday evening after both were granted work permits. Gedo's paperwork was a formality due to his international prominence in 2012, but it needed an appeal at Wembley Stadium for Fathi's move to be given the green light.
The Egyptian pair will not be involved in tomorrow's Millwall trip but will join their new team-mates ahead of a potential debut at Brighton if visas are granted early next week.
Mark Cullen was the only player to leave yesterday, on a loan to Stockport until the end of the season.