Football - Bruce faith key to top-flight leap

George Boyd believes Hull's impressive return to the Barclays Premier League is partly down to manager Steve Bruce's willingness to involve his promotion-winning squad.

PA Sport Report

The Tigers are the best-placed side of the three who emerged from the second tier last season after 10 matches, sitting 10th with 14 points.

That is two more than the Cardiff side who finished above them in first place in May and 11 better than play-off winners Crystal Palace.

The rock-bottom Eagles had a mass overhaul of their playing staff in the summer and it has yet to pay dividends, while Bruce held on to the majority of the players who earned top-flight status.

Boyd does not shrink from the fact that Bruce increased competition for starting berths by signing the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies, but credits him with keeping every member of the squad within touching distance of the side.

The 28-year-old midfielder had to wait until the trip to Tottenham on October 27 for his first league start of the campaign but retained his place for last weekend's win over Sunderland.

Southampton are next up on Saturday and they are another side who benefitted from relying on their existing squad when they arrived in the top flight in 2012-13.

"You do find that in the Premier League they (managers) do forget about the people who got them up and bring loads of new players in," he said.

"But the gaffer has done well to keep everyone happy and everyone has got their opportunity to play their part and prove they can play at this level so far.

"It was frustrating not playing at the start of the season, but the boys were doing really well and the gaffer has done really well with that, saying to us 'be patient, you'll get your chance and when you do, take it'.

"That's his man management skills to a tee. We've got a realy tight-knit group and to keep everyone feeling involved even when they're not on the pitch has been brilliant.

"A few of us who have been patient have got our chance lately and taken it with both hands.

"Obviously you're not used to it when you've come from the lower leagues and you're used to playing every week like I did at Peterborough and when I came to Hull.

"But the top clubs in this division are the same, they use their squads and a few of us have got to get used to not playing every single week."

Having finally cracked Bruce's first XI, Boyd was brought down to earth this week with the news that he had been cut from the Scotland squad.

Although unhappy about it, he was at least grateful to manager Gordon Strachan for making contact to explain his decision.

"It's obviously disappointing but Gordon rang me on Sunday to explain why I wasn't in and he didn't have to do that, so it was nice," said Boyd.

"He said he wanted to have a look at other players and the two friendlies (against United States and Norway this month) are a good chance to do that.

"Hopefully I can keep playing consistently for Hull and I can get another chance in another squad."

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