Bruce targets European success
Steve Bruce is determined to give everything towards success on the Europa League stage despite his Hull City squad being fully stretched.
Hull are involved in the competition for the first time this season and begin their campaign against Trencin in Slovakia on Thursday.
Bruce's side stretched their unbeaten run in pre-season to four matches with a 1-1 draw against Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday, Shane Long opening the scoring for the Premier League side before Conor Hourihane equalised for the Tykes.
Both goals came from goalkeeping errors, Long charging down an Adam Davies clearance for his goal before the Tigers' substitute stopper Eldin Jakupovic rushed out of his goal to try to head away a long ball only to see it sail over his head, leaving Hourihane with the simplest of chances.
Speaking after the game, Bruce told Sky Sports News: "It's all to do with preparations and we have had three games in a week which I am sure will be of benefit and we have now got four or five days to prepare for the European tie.
"We've got three or four niggles - Allan McGregor has picked up a knee injury so has David Meyler, Curtis Davies has a hamstring problem and Alex (Bruce) has hurt his Achilles so we will have to check on them before we fly out. So it's difficult, but we hope to have them involved because the squad will be stronger if we have them in it.
"We're in the competition and we've got to give it the best shot we can. If we get through the two qualifiers there are another six games before Christmas, and we know how difficult that is for any club. But we have got to try and enjoy it, meet it head on and give it a go."
Bruce named a 21-man squad for the two possible qualifiers on Friday but neither Maynor Figueroa nor Andrew Robertson will be involved.
The former has been given time off after his World Cup exertions with Honduras while the latter has still to complete his move from Dundee United.
Bruce is confident of having the full-back on board this week.
"Club to club, the deal had been done we have agreement in place," Bruce said. "The boy is travelling down with his representatives and his mum and dad. We think he is an exciting young player and we really hope we get it over the line so let's hope we can get it done."