Grant McCann’s targets as he prepares Hull City for the trip to Huddersfield Town

At the end of another thrilling spell of games, the Hull City players and their manager Grant McCann are taking a well-deserved break.

Saturday’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough saw the Tigers enter the international break with a smile on their face after relieving pressure on the manager after a 10-game winless streak.

The victory saw City end their six-game min-run with five of the fifteen points available, but four of the six points available in their last two home games represent a promising comeback that gives cause for concern. to be positive.

With the campaign’s penultimate international break, Hull Live takes a look at the tasks McCann will face over the next week in preparation for the trip to Huddersfield Town.

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Enjoy the rest …

Take a few days off. The championship is relentless and the demands and expectations placed on the players are such that every match is like a marathon, the build-up and the game itself is so exhausting, there is hardly any time to get down to it. relax before getting ready for the next one.

Its train, play, recover, train, play, recover and repeat.

Matt Smith, Callum Elder and Josh Magennis didn’t have that luxury, but for the rest of McCann’s squad and staff, the international break represents a chance to take a few days off, forget about football a bit. – if it is even possible?

Spending time with the family, going on a trip or playing the new FIFA game, whatever it is, just to relax the mind and body will be of vital importance as there is only one more before Christmas and then we are in the long work of the winter until the internationals in March.

The opportunity to reflect …

The way the season begins with the three international breaks before Christmas, it gives managers the option of breaking the matches into blocks, the first consisting of six matches, including the Carabao Cup draw with Wigan Athletic.

There were six games in that fixture block and starting with Huddersfield there will be six more as the November internationals approach.

City face four away games this time around with trips to John Smith Stadium, Luton Town, West Brom and Barnsley, while home clashes with fit Peterborough United and Coventry City take place at MKM Stadium.

McCann will be able to reflect on the season so far and, in general, what has been a good start, even if the results suggest otherwise – they have been competitive.

Overall performances have been good, and there hasn’t been a single game where the Tigers have been beaten, their own naivety and lack of quality in both boxes has been their downfall, lack of effort. , courage and desire was certainly not the problem.

Derby County was arguably the most disappointing performance, certainly after the first five minutes of a game City should never have let squirm.

Although McCann does not like to refer to luck, and to some extent he is right, there is no doubt in the games between the opening day and Blackpool, luck certainly did not shine from his side.

That seemed to change on Saturday with a few missed opportunities by Boro, the goal disallowed and then the way Keane Lewis-Potter’s volley pushed back the woodwork before entering the net via goalkeeper Joe Lumley.

Getting that home win and breaking the wave of negativity was crucial, especially ahead of that two-week hiatus, and it will give players and staff a chance to catch their breath and reflect on what has been difficult, but sometimes encouraging. . start.

Rely on the last two …

The point with Blackpool wouldn’t have meant much if City had lost to Boro, so picking up four out of six points after the race they competed in was a big advantage.

City’s challenge on their return is to start the next batch of six games on a positive note at the John Smith Stadium, particularly with a home game with Peterborough to follow on Wednesday night, a game you would have identified as crucial ahead of the campaign. started, and it’s even more vital now.

After claiming that first win at home, McCann’s men should be able to play with an element of freedom and that can only be a good thing.

What will be fascinating to see will be what the manager chooses to do in terms of training, after tweaking things slightly on Saturday.

Josh Emmanuel spoke about how he thought the 3-5-2 lineup gave City a bit more freedom than the 4-2-3-1 (or 4-3-3) that McCann became famous for, so the question in the future will be whether or not the Tigers stick to that for a little while or come back to type.

By their own admission, City have played better this season than against Boro and lost, so Saturday’s victory wasn’t just about formation changes, that would be too simplistic to say.

It was a combination of staff, better defense and better finish, and from Boro, a poor finish, as well as a little more aggression in both penalty benches, something that if they want to to escape trouble in the next few weeks, they will need a lot more.


The underlying problem for weeks now is McCann’s inability to name his first force, and that would hurt any team, let alone the one just promoted.

Preston on opening day was the closest McCann has been able to reach so far, with only Honeyman missing.

Since then he’s been deprived of Tom Huddlestone, Honeyman, Greg Docherty, Alfie Jones, Josh Magennis, Ryan Longman and Mallik Wilks, in addition to suspensions from George Moncur and Lewie Coyle, it’s far from straightforward.

Their recent loss to Sheffield United was a prime example when he was able to name Honeyman to his squad, but then lost Docherty.

In Stoke he got Docherty back but lost Honeyman and that’s how it turned out, that’s no excuse, however it’s a very valid factor as to why the transition from League One to Championship n wasn’t as smooth as some thought it would.

Whatever your take on the manager, there is no doubt that he has had a hard time choosing his best players, and the point is that when he has a full squad, City has a chance at this level.

The return of Honeyman, Huddlestone and Magennis for the trip through Yorkshire on Saturday week will give the manager a big boost, getting them back in shape and keeping them in shape will be the challenge, especially in the case of Honeyman.

How do you assess City’s start to the season so far? Give your opinion in the comments below …

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