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Huddersfield will need guts

last updated Tuesday 02nd May 2000, 10:30 PM
Huddersfield manager Steve Bruce has called for a gutsy performance from his patched-up team as they bid for a place in the play-offs at Fulham on Sunday.

Steve Bruce Huddersfield ManagerBruce expects to be without several key players for the trip to the capital, including strikers Martin Smith, who continues to be dogged by a hamstring problem, and Alun Armstrong who picked up a calf injury against his old club Stockport on Saturday.

To add to the manager's worries, Ken Monkou limped out of that 2-0 home defeat after only eight minutes with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of the Fulham clash.

With Rob Edwards and Dean Gorré also likely to be unavailable, Bruce will not be able to finalise his line-up until the eleventh hour, but he says whoever makes the team must be prepared to give their all.

"We need a team of XI who are 100% fully fit for Sunday and, in addition to that, this is no time for the faint hearted," said Bruce. "At Craven Cottage we need guts and determination and to treat it like a cup final - which is exactly what it is."

"You can never tell what's going to happen elsewhere and we do already have our points on the board, but there's no doubt we are capable of winning down at Fulham and that's what we have to prepare to do."

The Terriers two rivals for sixth place, Bolton and Wolves, meet at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday, but Bruce believes that whatever the outcome, Huddersfield will need a win at Craven Cottage.

As he mulled over the various permutations, he said: "Whatever the result between Bolton and Wolves tomorrow night, we have to assume they are going to win their final matches against Norwich and Port Vale respectively and that means we have to win down at Fulham." "Obviously, it would be better for tomorrow's match to be won by Bolton or for the two teams to draw, which would mean that any sort of win by us at Craven Cottage would be good enough."

"If Wolves win tomorrow, they would go above us on goal difference and have that advantage when travelling to Port Vale, in addition to leaving us not knowing how big a win we need. The mathematics are all up in the air at this stage, of course, so the only thing we can do is plan to win down at Fulham." As Bruce suggests, anything less than three points at Fulham would be disastrous for the club, as it would almost certainly leave them out of the play-off frame having occupied one of the top six places since late October.

Source skysport
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