MANAGER Steve Bruce is confident Tom Huddlestone can reignite his senior England hopes with Hull City.
Huddlestone moved from Spurs in a club record £5.25m deal last week and he and loan recruit Jake Livermore are eyeing their home debuts for the Tigers against Norwich City tomorrow after coming off the bench at Chelsea last weekend.
Huddlestone’s last of four England caps came last November, with Livermore making his sole appearance as a substitute in the 2-1 friendly win over Italy 12 months ago.
On Huddlestone getting back in the frame with England, Bruce, who rubbished reports of interest from Barnsley in Matty Fryatt, said: “That’s the challenge to him and I know Roy (Hodgson) really likes Jake Livermore too.
“Just because you play for an unfashionable club like Hull, it doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from playing every week.
“Tom and Jake will benefit from playing week-in and week-out on the big stage.”
Stephen Bywater returns to Hillsborough tomorrow with Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones admitting he is yet to replace the former No 2 goalkeeper.
Former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland never missed a Championship match last season and Bywater rejected a new Owls deal to sign for Millwall in search of first-team football.
The 32-year-old joined former Hillsborough team-mate Mark Beevers at the New Den this summer and Jones yesterday revealed he is still hunting a goalkeeper to provide competition to Kirkland – set to play his 50th Owls game tomorrow.
Wednesday have two young goalkeepers in Adam Davies and Cameron Dawson. Arron Jameson is out with a long-term injury.
“I think we need to bring in another goalkeeper after losing Stephen Bywater,” said Jones. “Chris Kirkland needs competition.
“We had that last year in Stephen, and a couple of times Chris was going to be left out because of performances, but he always responded to that.
“Chris needs to be put under pressure from competition.
“He’s playing well but he can do even better.
“Credit to him; we have to wrap him up in cotton wool every now and again. That’s why we need competition and it’s healthy to have it as well.
“He knows I am looking around, and if that keeps Chris on his toes, all well and good.”
Jones said he was surprised Bywater quit Wednesday and is looking forward to seeing the two former Owls tomorrow.
“Beevers did well and was a good servant here even before my time,” he said.
“We couldn’t fault Stephen, and I was surprised he left. We wanted to keep him but he felt had more of a chance playing first-team football elsewhere.
“It will be nice to see them, but that’s about as far as it goes because we want to beat them.”
Jones would like to bring in three outfield players on loan, with movement expected once the Premier League teams finalise their 25-man squads.
“The chairman (Milan Mandaric) agrees with that,” said Jones, after spending time at the Middlewood Road training ground with Mandaric yesterday.
“It’s an ongoing search. If I find somebody I will go to the chairman, say it will cost this, and ask what can be done, and the chairman is open to this.
“We are always talking. He was in (yesterday) and we will continue to chip away at what we feel is right for the club.
“We are all working hard to get it right. Yes, we would have wanted a better start, but we, and the players, feel that we are not that far away.”