HULL CITY manager Steve Bruce is hoping fans will soon be able to see the “real” Sone Aluko make his mark on the Barclays Premier League.
The Nigeria international was arguably the club’s best player in the first half of their 2012-13 promotion campaign before missing the rest of the season with an Achilles injury.
Last term the former Aberdeen and Rangers man was equally frustrating, with his Achilles this time ruling him out for almost four months from October.
But Bruce has never lost faith in a player he first worked with as a teenager at Birmingham, and has been desperate to see him back to form and fitness.
He was handed a chance from the bench against Everton on Tuesday night, courtesy of the knee injury that is likely to sideline Mohamed Diame until the new year, and his response suggested Bruce’s wish could be about to come true. Aluko scored a fine leveller and excelled in support of Nikica Jelavic, who might have won it for Hull had his finish matched Aluko’s set-up.
“I was delighted for Sone,” said Bruce, who is likely to hand him only a second Premier League start of the season against West Brom today.
“When I first arrived a couple of years ago he was the outstanding player in the Championship. Unfortunately, he damaged his Achilles so badly he missed all the rest of that season and even last year was stop-start.
“In my experience, when you’ve had serious injuries and been out for a year, it can take you as long again to be really, really back to being that comfortable. That especially goes if you play like Sone, who is all about twisting and turning and moving.
“But I’m delighted because he’s worked extremely hard and stuck at it. I pulled him aside before the Everton game and said he was very unlucky not to start because he did very well as a sub at Old Trafford, which is a good sign.
“I know he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing week-in, week-out because he’s been blighted by injury. Let’s just hope he has a bit of luck because he is a very talented player.
“He’s one you enjoy watching because he’s a bit different.”