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Football: Bruce set to keep his men at the summit summit

HUDDERSFIELD MANAGER Steve Bruce is surprised to be the Christmas No 1 - but is now hoping his side can stay in tune as they head for the Premiership hit parade.

Bruce has sparked a revolution at the McAlpine Stadium since taking over in the summer with the Terriers placed on top of the First Division.

"We're delighted with the way everything has gone," said Bruce, whose side head to Crewe on Boxing Day. "It's just important that we go into the Christmas period full of hope that we can keep going."

Bruce has taken former Manchester United team-mate David May on loan to ease his side's centre-back problems as both Chris Lucketti and Ken Monkou remain injured.

Second-placed Manchester City head to a beleaguered West Brom. Brian Little's side are struggling in the League and were knocked out of the Worthington Cup in midweek - Royle has no plans to offer any additional Christmas spirit.

"We will give them (the players) Christmas Day with their families and we will be going away Christmas Day night as we normally do." said Royle. "Now it's back to the professional job."

Royle is still waiting on midfielder Tony Grant to complete a pounds 450,000 deal from Everton while Little has Daryl Burgess, Larus Sigurdsson and Chris Adamson back from suspension.

The game of the day sees seventh-placed Fulham at home to third-placed Ipswich. The Town manager George Burley admits, "We are pleased to be not too far away from the top because we are aiming for a top position."

Ipswich are hoping that their top-scorer David Johnson will feature after returning to light training this week following a thigh injury. Fulham are without the defender Alan Neilson and the midfielder Sean Davis.