Matty Fryatt has played himself into contention to start the FA Cup final against Arsenal, Hull City manager Steve Bruce has hinted.
Fryatt's lively performance off the bench during Tuesday's 3-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester United was a major positive to emerge at Old Trafford for Bruce.
The Hull boss made five changes to his side for the trip to United, presumably with the upcoming Wembley showpiece in mind, and Bruce's men initially struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Bruce's decision to introduce Fryatt at half-time appeared to spark Hull into life and the striker was on hand to make it 2-1 with a curling 25-yard effort beyond David De Gea after debutant James Wilson's brace for United.
And, although Robin van Persie added a late third for the home team, Bruce was pleased with his side's attitude, particularly Fryatt's desire to impress.
"In the second half we decided to have a go at it and in the first half we were very comfortable," said the Hull boss to BBC Sport. "A lot of players have staked a claim to play in the FA Cup final.
"Matty Fryatt has been terrific. He changed the semi-final and every time I have asked him to come on he has done well.
"He looks favourite to take that position."
Bruce also paid tribute to his opposite number as Ryan Giggs came off the bench to inspire United in the closing 20 minutes on what could be his final Old Trafford appearance as a player.
"If it has ended for Ryan Giggs it has been some career," he added. "There will never be anyone as decorated.
"Sometimes the word great is used too often but he has been one of the greats."comments