Nikica Jelavic left ‘beating himself up’ over miss, admits Steve Bruce

The Croatian striker fluffed a golden close-range opportunity in Saturday’s goalless draw

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The Independent Football

Steve Bruce, the Hull City manager, has said the club’s top scorer Nikica Jelavic was “beating himself up” over his miss-of-the-season contender against Leicester City.

The Croatian striker has found the net eight times this season – twice the haul of nearest Hull team-mate Mohamed Diamé – but fluffed a golden close-range opportunity in Saturday’s goalless draw at the King Power Stadium, a match that suggested neither of the relegation strugglers would be out of place in the Championship.

“Jelavic has won us so many games since he’s been with us over the last year but that’s one of those awful ones he’s beating himself up over,” said Bruce, whose side had to hold on for 19 minutes after Tom Huddlestone was sent off.

“It was a big, big game for both clubs and you could see the nerves. We had the clear-cut chances but it’s another point gained. We all have different opinions of how many we’ll need, but it’s another one towards safety.”

The West Bromwich Albion manager, Tony Pulis, praised Darren Fletcher’s growing influence at the club after their 1-0 victory over Stoke City put them eight points above the relegation zone.

It was West Bromwich’s fourth straight home win in all competitions and Pulis believes 31-year-old midfielder Fletcher, who moved to The Hawthorns from Manchester United in January, has been key to that success.

“He’s been a fantastic signing,” Pulis said. “He’s a tremendous lad, his enthusiasm and energy levels are top class. He looks as sprightly as any 20-year-old.

“He and [James] Morrison dominated the midfield. They’ve played together for Scotland and a lot of good stuff came from those two.”

Brown Ideye scored his seventh goal of the season as Albion won their seventh game out of 13 under Pulis.


Hull’s Nikica Jelavic reacts after his miss against Leicester on Saturday