Hull boss Bruce to ring changes at Southend

Steve Bruce has vowed to give his fringe players an opportunity to stake their claim when Hull City face Southend United in the FA Cup.

Bruce made nine changes to his side in the third-round victory at Middlesbrough earlier this month and the Hull boss will take the same approach against League Two outfit Southend in the fourth round on Saturday.

Defender James Chester will not feature after sustaining a hamstring injury, while midfielder Tom Huddlestone is suspended.

Recent signings Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long are cup-tied for the clash at Roots Hall after playing in the third round for Everton and West Brom respectively.

Defender Paul McShane is back in contention after recovering from an ankle problem and Bruce plans to reward the patience of players who have not had much action during the Premier League campaign so far.

"It's an ideal time to give some members of the squad a game." said the former Sunderland boss.

"There are some players that are desperate for a game and it's only right that they should play.

"As we saw against Middlesbrough in the last round, the strength-in-depth of our squad is good.

"The players that have been on the fringes of the squad in the last couple of weeks will all get a game.

"Those players are all champing at the bit to play."

Bruce also revealed that Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady are closing in on returning from Achilles and groin injuries respectively.

He added: "Aluko and Brady aren't quite right yet, but both are making huge strides.

"I would have thought that, in the next week to 10 days, they will both be joining in with the team and that can only be good for everybody."