Bruce's challenge gets even tougher
Steve Bruce admits Hull have their work cut out to stay in the Barclays Premier League when even the likes of Norwich and Southampton have joined the ranks of the big spenders.
Hull take on the Canaries, the side that gave Bruce his chance at the big time as a player, this weekend in their first home match back in the top flight and the Tigers' manager admits there is a gap between his side and Norwich.
Norwich have embarked on a considerable transfer spree, not least splashing out a club record B#10.7million on Ricky Van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon, while Southampton have paid B#15million for Roma striker Dani Osvaldo.
And Bruce, who has had to be more canny in terms of spending, said the stability that his old club have established in the Premier League is something he is aiming to emulate.
He said: "We all know who is going to be in the top six but Norwich and Southampton are doing their best to try and bridge that gap if they can.
"Make no mistake, with the resources that these clubs have got, the squads they've got, it is very, very difficult for us all to try to compete.
"But clubs like Norwich, Southampton and West Brom have invested a hell of a lot of money.
"Everyone has strengthened and that's the difficulty when you first come up into the Premier League.
"I wish I could spend B#15million on a centre-forward but that's not possible. We've got to cut our cloth."
Bruce has fond memories of his time at Norwich before Sir Alex Ferguson took him to Manchester United, and rates what has been done in East Anglia in recent years.
He added: "Norwich was the one real big club that really give me a chance. Everybody associates me with Man United, but Norwich was the one.
"Mel Machin and Ken Brown were the people who took me to Norwich a long, long time ago, and they gave me a chance when I was in the Third Division (with Gillingham)."
"If we can run our club the way they do with their support, that's got to be our benchmark."
Bruce is expected to give a first start to record signing Tom Huddlestone alongside his ex-Tottenham team-mate Jake Livermore, who has joined on loan from Spurs, against Norwich.
Norwich defender Michael Turner will put points before nostalgia when he returns to Hull.
Turner spent three years with Hull between 2006 and 2009, winning the official supporters' club player of the year award three times.
In the 2008-09 season he achieved the rare feat of playing every minute of every Premier League match for the East Yorkshire club.
So when he runs out at the KC Stadium it would be strange if he did not feel a warm glow of familiarity for a club which is close to his heart and for whom he scored 12 goals in 129 matches.
If he does then he will not show it. There is precious little room for sentiment in the Premier League.
Turner said: "It's exciting for me to go back there. I had three very good years there. It's a big occasion for them, their first home game back in the Premier League. I kept my eyes open for Hull's results last year and I was delighted they got promoted.
"It will be nice to go back and see some old faces. I have some good memories but after a good performance against Everton we will be looking forward to getting some points. I'm going back there to win."
On top of the happy memories, Turner also has history with Bruce.
It was Bruce who backed Turner's defensive talents with cash when he took him to Sunderland in 2009 for B#4million.
Turner said: "I think he's a great manager. I enjoyed working with him. He was a central defender himself and he worked hard with me on my game, giving me lots of advice and tips.
"He (Bruce) has brought in a lot of players over the summer so it will be interesting to see how he goes."
Norwich began their campaign last weekend with a home draw against Everton but suffered a blow when midfielder Elliott Bennett was ruled out until the new year after undergoing surgery in midweek for a cruciate ligament injury.
Robert Snodgrass is likely to replace him against Hull after recovering from a groin problem.
New Swedish signing Johan Elmander could feature if international clearance comes through in time, while Dutch central midfielder Leroy Fer also returns after missing the Everton match through suspension.
The mood in the Norwich camp is buoyant after their 11th-placed finish last season and a summer which has seen eight new signings so far arrive at Carrow Road.