Newcastle United boss has thrown down the gauntlet to winger Jacob Murphy for the final 16 matches of the season.
Murphy is fighting for a new contract with talks ongoing between the winger’s agent Jamie Moralee and the club’s top brass with the former Millwall and Colchester forward hoping for a long-term deal for his client.
But Murphy has not been involved in the last two matches after being dropped after the 2-1 home defeat against Leeds last week.
Murphy has not even made the squad in the last two matches and when asked if he was injured, Bruce said: “He’s fine.
“Most of the squad is fit at the moment, the only problem we’ve got are centre-backs which is becoming a worry.
“He (Jacob) is fine, but a bit like Matty and Sean Longstaff finds himself on the sidelines at the minute.
“So he has to take the opportunity when it comes round again.”
Bruce is hoping that his wing men can continue to provide the ammo for Callum Wilson in the home meeting with Southampton tomorrow.
When asked about the 10-goal star, Bruce added: “He’s been excellent.
“To get 10 goals at the halfway stage for a team in the bottom half is a wonderful return.
“So let’s hope he can stay fit and well, because when he plays well we play well.
“We’re delighted with him and his form.
“He was terrific against Everton so let’s have a bit more of the same.”