first_img “You can do that even against a top player, whether it’s outsmarting them, out-thinking them or out-running them.” Steven Reid is available for Burnley’s match at home to Hull on Saturday after a groin problem. Midfielder Matt Taylor is back in initial training after an Achilles operation but is not ready to return to playing while striker Sam Vokes is still working his way back from a serious knee injury. Hull boss Steve Bruce has warned his players struggling Burnley are primed to punish any hint of complacency. The Clarets are rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League, without a win in their first 10 matches and already widely tipped for a return to the second tier. But far from seeing them as a lost cause, Bruce views Saturday’s opponents as a wounded animal. And he has no doubt the Tigers could be their first victim if they do not bring their best form to Turf Moor. “If we think it’s going to be easy we’re far mistaken,” said Bruce. “We know all about Burnley and how difficult it can be against them. “If we just think we’re going to roll up there, jog around and get a result then we’ve had it basically, because they’ll turn us over. “Every report I’ve got on them says the same thing: they’ve still got a great spirit among themselves, they’re still desperate to play in the Barclays Premier League and desperate to stay there. “I’m a big admirer of Sean Dyche and what he’s done and they’re still in there fighting. “But we must avoid being the first team they pick a win up from. We have to go there with a mindset that we’re playing a Liverpool or an Arsenal.” Hull are expecting to be short of full strength once more against Burnley, with key men not expected back until after next week’s international break. Unless Allan McGregor or Steve Harper are surprisingly declared fit, third-choice goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic will continue in goal – having gifted Southampton the winner last weekend. Michael Dawson and Alex Bruce are also absent from central defence but it is four-goal striker Nikica Jelavic, recovering from a knee operation, who is arguably proving the biggest miss. He and £10million summer signing Abel Hernandez were fast becoming a lethal partnership prior to the injury and the Uruguay striker has looked somewhat isolated without his foil. “I’ve always said you’re only as good as your strikers and Hernandez likes to play off a number nine if the truth be known, finding little pockets of space in and around,” said Bruce. “Of course he’s missed Jelavic, who had a wonderful start to the season before he twisted his knee. “The quicker we get those big players back will help everyone concerned. “I’m hoping Harper, I’m hoping McGregor, I’m hoping Dawson, I’m hoping Jelavic come back after the internationals. “You can’t be without your big players, especially down the spine of your team.” Bruce will be reunited with former player George Boyd on Saturday, for the first time since making the difficult decision to let him go. And he paid glowing testimony to the 29-year-old ahead of the match. “If everybody was like George Boyd a manager’s job would be very easy,” he said. “He epitomises someone who’s come through the lower leagues, there’s no edge to him. He’s down to earth, well-mannered, polite, and he trained every day as if it was his last. “It was one of those awful decisions as a manager but he wasn’t playing regularly and he was desperate to play. “I think it was best for all parties in the end.” Burnley’s midfielder David Jones has echoed his Dad’s Army namesake Corporal Jones by insisting now is not the time for the Premier League’s bottom club to panic. Jones has been part of struggling teams before, not least as a fringe member of the Derby side that set the unwelcome record in 2007-8 of the lowest-ever points total in a Premier League season – just 11. Burnley have four points from 10 games and have played more than their fair share of the top clubs already – and Jones is adamant there is still a positive spirit and togetherness about the squad, but knows he and his fellow players must keep their heads. The 30-year-old, a product of Manchester United’s academy, said: “Definitely you can’t panic. You don’t play good football when you panic. “You would probably think we would be despondent and not positive but this is a very resilient bunch of players and everyone is really positive and energetic “Internally we have lots of confidence that we can get results and keep together as a team and build on that spirit that we showed last year and this year. We just need to turn that spirit into good football and good results. “You’ve got to be relaxed and focused and have clarity of mind to be able to perform at this level and that’s what we’ll continue to do.” Jones claims the Clarets have not had their due reward for some of their performances but that the step up to the Premier League means every slight error or lapse in concentration is punished. He added: “It is hard. That’s just the step up in level that we’ve come to. It’s fine margins, little details, but at this level it all counts.” For many of the Burnley players this is their first season in the Premier League but Jones says they can be a match for any opposition – even the biggest names. “You are up against world-class players but you don’t have to be better than them all week – just better than them for 90 minutes,” he said. Press Associationlast_img

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