Last season’s feats at Barnsley provided one of the most heart-warming EFL stories of 2020-21, with the Oakwell outfit defying the odds to reach the Championship play-offs.
It, of course, was also a campaign when City enjoyed a reawakening en route to their first division title since 1965-66, but life back in the second tier has been anything but smooth.
Hull’s commitment and work ethic has not been in question this season, but a sequence of nine games without a win suggested they were in need of a major break ahead of Saturday’s game with Middlesbrough.
It duly arrived by way of a cherished 2-0 win which represented just rewards for a highly motivated group of largely young players who have not lost faith, and have kept going despite a testing start to Championship life in 2021-22.
McCann observed: “I remember at the back end in the last time we were in the Championship when I was stood there and thinking: ‘Some of these players aren’t even trying.’ And it is hard as a manager.
“You have to motivate them and I get that. But this group does not need motivating. Whether they are winning, losing or drawing, they will keep going to the end and that’s all we can ask for.
“The togetherness goes a long way. You look at Barnsley for example last season.
“I am not saying we are going to go into the top six or anything, but you look at them last season and they just had sheer hard work and attitude as a group and that is the reason they did so well.
“We have got an honest group of players and one who will, run, fight and work.”
City’s performance was epitomised in the non-stop performance of midfielder Andy Cannon, with McCann effusive in his praise of the ex-Portsmouth and Rochdale player, one of a number of ‘rookies’ at second-tier level.
He added “Andy has been brilliant, outstanding. He has been really patient and there were big performances all over the park.
“If you look at that team on Saturday, there are probably seven or eight of them playing for the first time in the Championship and they are only going to grow and get better with the more games they play.”