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Hughes: Bruce defending the indefensible

A tackle by Figueroa left Stoke midfielder Ireland needing multiple stitches in his right calf, with a picture of the cut going viral on social media.

Stoke boss Hughes condemned the challenge in the aftermath of the game and Hull counterpart Bruce hit back, pointing to Ireland's tackle on David Meyler earlier in the match.

"I think Steve has fallen into the trap of trying to defend the indefensible," Hughes said on Tuesday ahead of a home meeting with Everton on Wednesday.

"He has seen the two challenges and I don't think there is any comparison whatsoever. 

"I don't think Steve has done himself too much credit with his opinions of the events that day. It is easy to defend your players, and I will say I am guilty of it too at times. 

"On this occasion, I don't think Steve needed to defend him. It would have been better for him to have come out and said it how it was.

"As you can imagine, Stephen is unavailable [for the Everton game]. He is likely to be out for two to three weeks. 

"Most people have seen the picture of the injury and it won't surprise anybody that he had to have internal stitches as well as external ones.

"It is disappointing because he was doing well for us. It's a shame that he is missing out again."