Bruce sympathy for Clarke

Hull boss Steve Bruce has condemned West Brom's decision to dismiss Steve Clarke but fears the sacking could work against the Tigers for Saturday's meeting at the Hawthorns.

West Brom

Bruce's side lost at home to Crystal Palace when an interim manager was in position and that will be the case against Albion, where Keith Downing is in charge for this weekend's match.

A victory for Hull, who have an impressive defensive record this season, could take them into the top half of the table and Bruce said Clarke was unlucky to have been fired.

Bruce said: "Steve Clarke took West Brom to eighth last year, a sign that he is a very good manager. He has a few bad results and suddenly it is him that pays for it, not anybody else.

"I feel for Steve because he has had some awful decisions go against him. I remember he was winning at Chelsea a few weeks ago and had an awful penalty given against them, then they were 2-0 up at Aston Villa and he's had some bad decisions go against them."

Bruce warned however that it was impossible to predict how West Brom would react.

He added: "Sometimes a different voice on the training ground has a response from the players, maybe they will get together and say 'it was harsh on the manager, let's put in a performance for him'.

"We played Crystal Palace when Tony Pulis was just in situ and they came up here and turned us over.

"Whether it is a negative or positive response we will have to wait and see but we know West Brom have got some very, very good players."

Bruce, meanwhile, has played down interest in Valenciennes' Ivory Coast defender Benjamin Angoua, but did not rule out a move for Celtic's Greek striker Georgios Samaras who is out of contract at the end of the season.

"I've no real aspiration to bring in a defender, I'm looking at the other end of the pitch - but so is half the world," added Bruce.

"You are only as good as your strikers, that's the way it is.

"Everyone is aware of the situation with (Samaras') contract and I am sure all of us have looked but he is a good player. But I have not expressed any real interest."

Robbie Brady is out against West Brom with a groin injury.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder is now doubtful for all of the Tigers' matches over the Christmas period after the injury has continued to cause problems.

Sone Aluko (Achilles) and Stephen Quinn (hamstring) are long-term absentees.

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