Bruce to put Allardyce friendship aside

Steve Bruce will put his close friendship with Sam Allardyce to one side when Hull City do battle with West Ham in the Barclays Premier League at Upton Park on Wednesday.

Football News: Sam Allardyce, West Ham

Hull boss Bruce is six years younger than the 59-year-old Allardyce but he says they share a kindred spirit and the former centre-halves will be getting together soon for their annual holiday together.

"You tend to find your friends are away from football but I can call Sam as one of my friends," Bruce said.

"We both started in management at the same sort of time, him at Notts County and me at Sheffield United, 14 or 15 years ago and we've been hammer and tongs at each other since.

"Every summer we get together and have a few days away and enjoy some time together."

Just two points separate the two teams in their battle to pull away from the relegation zone but Bruce is confident both will enjoy mid-table security long before the end of the season.

Allardyce was named manager of the month for February after guiding the Hammers to four straight wins that has brought them within touching distance of safety.

"He's got that curse, hasn't he," Bruce said of the hoodoo which can often following the managerial prize. "There is nobody more experienced and, if you are in a dog fight, Sam's your man.

"He had some terrible injuries but, once he got his players back, over the last couple of months they look a West Ham team once again.

"I expect them to be nowhere near the relegation area when the end of the season comes."

Bruce, whose Hull team are two points in front of West Ham, believe Allardyce's reputation has been tarnished unfairly since he ended his successful stint at Bolton in 2007.

"He gets unfair labels thrown at him," Bruce said. "If you look at the job he did at Bolton, it was nothing short of miraculous. To finish in the top six three times was quite remarkable. Look where Bolton are now.

"His stint at Newcastle didn't last very long but they are still in a good position and he got West Ham promoted and kept them up. He's always been successful in what he's done and maybe doesn't get the recognition he deserves."

Bruce is hoping striker Shane Long and centre half Curtis Davies will both shake off knee injuries sustained in the 2-0 win over West Brom to enable the FA Cup semi-finalists to field an unchanged team.

Bruce, whose side need one more win to reach the 10 he predicted at the start of the year would be enough to guarantee survival, is confident Davies can help combat the threat of West Ham striker Andy Carroll.

"Andy Carroll is a handful when he's fit and flying like he is," Bruce said. "We've had the privilege of seeing Curtis over the last six months and you'd have to say he's been a terrific signing for us.

"He's had a wonderful season and I'm sure he will relish the challenge of it because that's the type of player he is.

"Whether it's Andy Carroll or Suarez or whoever it is, he seems to thrive on playing against them, which is good to see."

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