Stubborn Hull City 'have rediscovered resilience', says Steve Bruce
STEVE Bruce believes a first league win of 2013 saw his Hull City side rediscover the resilience needed to keep pace in the race for automatic promotion.
After a difficult January had brought just one win in six league and cup games, David Meyler's early strike inspired a return to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at Millwall on Saturday.
A stubborn defensive effort returned City's sixth clean-sheet in their last 11 games, and a first away win over Millwall since 1986.
Three valuable points brought City level on points with second-placed Leicester, and Bruce admitted it was a triumph for the determination of his high-flyers.
"To win the Championship or get anywhere near that, there's going to be a time when you have a little stumble," Bruce told the Mail.
"I've said that this is the difficult part of the season, especially with the way we try to play football.
"The pitches are lively and heavy, so it's tough for every side. It's important that you show a little bit of resilience.
"We lost against Sheffield Wednesday, which is the one time we've lost in three months in the league, so there was no need to panic. But we needed to get back to winning ways and there's nothing better sometimes than a 1-0 win. I saw that resilience and fight."
City's victory was not without its set-backs as central defender Abdoulaye Faye is facing up to three weeks out with a calf strain, while goalscorer Meyler was also forced off with a knee injury.
Although fears of a serious problem were soon allayed at The Den, the midfielder may yet be a doubt for this weekend's trip to Brighton.
Along with City team-mates Paul McShane and Robbie Brady, he will join up with the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Poland, where his injury will be assessed.
Bruce was a relieved man when seeing Meyler avoid another serious knee problem and knows his £1.5m recruit has a big role to play in City's season.
"David's got a knock on his knee but it's probably just stitches," he said. "It was a nasty whack and when he went down holding his right knee I feared the worst.
"Thankfully, he'll be okay, I think. I would think he'll still have to report with Ireland but I can't see him playing.
"He's had a really good start to his career here and hopefully he can have a little bit of luck to stay fit. He can be a big player for us because you'd hate to play against him."
City will hope to see deadline day signings Ahmed Fathi and Gedo arrive in England late this week.
The pair are awaiting visas but are expected to see them granted before they, along with Ahmed Elmohamady, play for Egypt against Chile in Madrid on Wednesday.
Bruce, meanwhile, continues to monitor the emergency loan market ahead of its opening on Friday as he looks to add another striker to his squad.
"If there's someone out there who can improve us we'll have a look," he added.