Bruce believes Hull can progress

27 August 2014 02:16

Hull boss Steve Bruce believes any side he chooses to field against Lokeren will be capable of overturning a 1-0 deficit in their Europa League play-off second leg, but has urged his players to show patience.

Bruce made wholesale changes for the opening encounter against the Belgian team last week but an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Allan McGregor led to the Tigers facing an uphill task on Thursday evening.

Despite the setback at the Daknamstadion, Bruce is once again prepared to shuffle his pack as he contemplates having to juggle a squad on both domestic and European fronts this season.

That dilemma will only occur if his side can come from behind and defeat Lokeren to reach the group stages of the competition, although Bruce is supremely confident.

"We've got a squad of depth which I'm very, very comfortable with. We made wholesale changes last week, I don't think it's going to be as many this week but we'll certainly make a few," Bruce said.

"It's quite simple, we've got to win the match and we're capable of that, no matter what line-up I pick, we're capable of winning the game.

"We know that we'd love to be in the next stages; to get in the group stages would be terrific for the club, we're aware of that. We're also aware of how difficult it is with all the pitfalls that come with it.

"We'll be going all out to try and get a result and get us through to the league situation which we'd all look forward to."

Bruce, however, is wary of his side taking Lokeren lightly and has warned them not to throw caution to the wind, as they did in the third qualifying round, when they had to come from a goal down against AS Trencin to progress.

"The one thing you can't be is gung-ho," Bruce said.

"They're good opposition, they've got some good players; you don't finish fifth in the Belgian league and win the (domestic) cup if you're not a good side.

"So of course you've got to have a bit of patience, you've got to have a bit of guile about you and if we leave ourselves exposed at the back then like we did against Trencin we'll concede after a minute."

However, Bruce was keen to add that they must dictate the tempo of the contest.

"It's vitally important that we play at a level which we're comfortable with and the one thing about the Premier League to other leagues is the pace, the tempo, the quickness to it is the main difference," he said.

"So we've got play at our pace to make sure that we are on the front foot against them."

Hull received a boost ahead of the clash on Tuesday night with the signing of Michael Dawson from Tottenham although the defender will be ineligible to make his bow against Lokeren.

Bruce, though, believes the 30-year-old's experience whilst he was with Spurs will prove invaluable during the season as Hull once again attempt to remain in the Premier League.

"He's a quality player who's played at the highest level in the Premier League for the last seven or eight years," Bruce added.

"All of the ingredients in what he brings to the table was the reason why we brought him here.

"It's going to be difficult in the second season.

"So the additions of people like himself can only help the cause. We're trying to move the thing forward and trying to get a bigger and better squad because it's a long season ahead with many games to play and when a quality addition like him becomes available we're delighted to get him."

Source: PA