Hull take on the Canaries, the side that gave Bruce his chance at the big time as a player, this weekend in their first home match back in the top flight and the Tigers' manager admits there is a gap between his side and Norwich.
Norwich have embarked on a considerable transfer spree, not least splashing out a club record £10.7million on Ricky Van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon, while Southampton have paid £15million for Roma striker Dani Osvaldo.
And Bruce, who has had to be more canny in terms of spending, said the stability that his old club have established in the Premier League is something he is aiming to emulate.
He said: "We all know who is going to be in the top six but Norwich and Southampton are doing their best to try and bridge that gap if they can.
"Make no mistake, with the resources that these clubs have got, the squads they've got, it is very, very difficult for us all to try to compete.
"But clubs like Norwich, Southampton and West Brom have invested a hell of a lot of money.
"Everyone has strengthened and that's the difficulty when you first come up into the Premier League.
"I wish I could spend £15million on a centre-forward but that's not possible. We've got to cut our cloth."
Bruce has fond memories of his time at Norwich before Sir Alex Ferguson took him to Manchester United, and rates what has been done in East Anglia in recent years.
He added: "Norwich was the one real big club that really give me a chance. Everybody associates me with Man United, but Norwich was the one.
"Mel Machin and Ken Brown were the people who took me to Norwich a long, long time ago, and they gave me a chance when I was in the Third Division (with Gillingham)."
"If we can run our club the way they do with their support, that's got to be our benchmark.
"They have a wonderful support, and they're a really well-run club, a good family club, which people enjoy being in the Premier League.
"I hope we can be as successful as what they have been over the last few years.
"They're a club that's not far off our size and they're proving that you can make a fist of it. Why can't it be us?"
Bruce is expected to give a first start to record signing Tom Huddlestone alongside his ex-Tottenham team-mate Jake Livermore, who has joined on loan from Spurs, against Norwich.
The pair came off the bench during the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last weekend and had an immediate positive impact, even if was just in terms of stemming the flow of attacks from Jose Mourinho's side.