Hull boss sure of player quality

Steve Bruce
Hull manager Steve Bruce. Photo: PA

Hull manager Steve Bruce backed his players to come good after his side scraped past League two Rotherham into the second round of the Capital One Cup.

A wonder-strike from Lionel Ainsworth gave Rotherham the lead early in the second half before Aaron Mclean stabbed home the equaliser.

After both sides wasted clear openings in extra-time, Hull edged home in the shoot-out, with Mark Bradley firing against the crossbar after the first 13 penalties had been converted.

"I thought we started off the first half well and should have been at least two up as we had some great chances," Bruce said.

"The disappointing thing was that we missed those chances.

"You can't put a stamp on these things in nine weeks, though. It was clear last season when they scored 40 odd goals but finished eighth that there was a problem with scoring goals.

"But we have got some good players - a really good, honest bunch - and I know we will be fine.

"I went into the game with the very open plan to try to open the match up, but some of our players needed that game time. For Abdoulaye Faye, Matty Fryatt and Liam Rosenior, it was almost like a pre-season game.

"There is a lot to improve upon, but we created lots of opportunities and some of our play in the first half was superb.

"We have had three or four one-on-ones and breakaways where we missed the final pass.

"Rotherham were big and strong. When you play against one of his (Rotherham manager Steve Evans') teams, you know have to stand up and be counted."

Bruce said that he remains keen to strengthen his squad before the close of the transfer window.

"The disappointing thing about this pre-season is that we have picked up a lot of niggling injuries.

"We're a bit short in the middle of midfield, but we do have some players to come back."

Rotherham boss Evans felt his side should have had a penalty when Hull defender James Chester tackled Kieran Agard in extra-time.

"My players had the best view of the incident of anyone, and they thought it was a penalty," he said. "It should have been a penalty, but the referee said the guy got the ball then the man.

"But apart from first 15 minutes I think we took the game to a Championship side and I think they are fortunate to be in the next round.

"I think we dominated the chances, the play and the game. Steve Bruce is an honest man and an honest manager, and I think he would say the same.

"I can't ask any more from my players in terms of effort.

"Perhaps we can do better in the final third, but that will come, and we will move on to next Saturday.

"Their goal was disappointing as it came from us having good possession on the edge of their penalty box."

Hull came close when Cameron Stewart's right-footed shot smacked against the crossbar.

However, Rotherham snatched the lead with a tremendous goal of the blue seven minutes into the second half.

Ainsworth, who had just come on to replace Gareth Williams, rifled an unstoppable volley in off the crossbar following David Noble's cross from the left.

But with 20 minutes remaining, the hosts were back on level terms when Mclean tapped home Stewart's deflected cross four minutes after replacing Paul McKenna.

Fryatt wasted two clear openings for Hull in extra-time, but Ben Pringle blazed over from 10 yards as Rotherham nearly snatched a winner.

And in the shoot-out, Bradley missed after 13 unerring penalties to hand Hull the win.