GRAPHIC IMAGE - Bruce hits back on Stephen Ireland's gash

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Stephen Ireland suffered nasty injury on Saturday
Stephen Ireland suffered nasty injury on Saturday

Hull City boss Steve Bruce has hit back at Stoke after a gory picture emerged of a bloody gash in Stephen Ireland's leg following a challenge by Tigers defender Maynor Figueroa.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes claimed the challenge could have ended Ireland's career and that Figueroa should have been sent off - the injury needed 12 to 15 stitches.

Graphic images have emerged (below) of the injury Ireland suffered during his side's 1-0 win against Hull, with his manager Mark Hughes suggesting the tackle was worthy of more severe punishment from match officials.

However, Bruce disputed that claim and insisted it was Ireland himself who should have been given his marching orders for an earlier challenge.

He said: "Let me tell you, Stephen Ireland committed the worst challenge on the pitch on Davd Meyler. He shouldn't have been on the pitch if the referee had done his job. It was an awful challenge.

"I could show you a picture of Figueroa's ankle, he had five stitches in it and carried on. Nobody wants to see a cut or an injury as bad as Stephen Ireland had but unfortunately in football it happens.

"Everybody is wearing the boots called blades and the challenge on Ireland he's kicked the ball and followed through and unfortunately has caught his leg.

"At the time nobody went to the referee, he didn't award a free-kick - it wasn't a free-kick but one of those horrible ones where he's followed through and caught the boy on the calf rather than planted the boot on him."

Bruce's Hull entertain Sunderland on Tuesday night, with Ireland's Stoke side take on Everton the following evening.