Barnsley v Hull City – Family support helping Grant McCann in bid to turn tide for Tigers

IN DIFFICULT times, you draw upon your family for support and inspiration.

Hull City manager Grant McCann speaks to Sean McLoughlin at The Hawthorns. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Grant McCann is no different. The drive back from East Yorkshire to his South Lincolnshire home will have felt long and dark of late given Hull City’s bleak autumn.

The Tigers’ head coach has seen his side win just twice in 16 Championship games ahead of today’s relegation six-pointer at one of his former clubs.

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The importance of it speaks for itself. Should City suffer another bad day, the cyber warriors will be out in force to vent their spleen in his direction and there is likely to be a chorus of disapproval from the away end at Oakwell where it can be a very long walk back to the dressing room straight past visiting supporters in the North Stand.

West Bromwich Albion's Callum Robinson (centre) battles for the ball with Hull City's Greg Docherty (left) and Richard Smallwood at The Hawthorns. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

McCann has no issue with any stick towards him, but where he does draw the line – justifiably so – surrounds any abuse aimed at his family.

He recently revealed that some so-called ‘fans’ disgracefully tried to abuse him through his 15-year-old son’s Instagram account.

The news this week that he has signed a two-year scholarship with Peterborough United is a happier story for ‘Team McCann’.

On another testing week – and a welcome silver lining personally – the Hull chief said: “It is tough. Who keeps me motivated? My wife and my kids.

“My 15-year-old boy has just signed a two-year scholarship at Peterborough and it has made me very happy.

“These sort of things when I go home to my family, you realise it is a job and a passion and we want to win all the time but you also have to take into consideration the people who are driving you every single day like my mum and dad, my kids and my wife and my coaching staff.”

McCann’s side head into today’s game on the back of a five-match losing sequence and you have to go back to the opening day of the season for their only other win on the road so far in 2021-22.

Increasingly pilloried from several quarters, the Ulsterman and his tight group of staff and players would be justified in thinking it is turning into an ‘us-against-the-world’ type scenario.”

The numbers this season are grim, but the togetherness, spirit and fight among the group remains intact and that is something at least.

It is a group who have lost their last four matches by a narrow one-goal margin and who desperately need a break.

McCann added: “It is tough but we have got a real good togetherness and unity which has come from last season and into this.

“It is difficult when you are losing games, but we have good experience around the camp to keep some of the younger players grounded and not too distressed and upset about it.

“The territory of losing games means that you are going to be knocked and called out a lot. That is the nature of football and unfortunately, that’s the way it is.

“We have to take it on the chin and the only people who can change it is us.

“They are a great group who are giving us everything and they are just coming up short at the minute. It will definitely change.

“They are liked and appreciated and we believe so much in them here and we just have to keep working with them and I am sure it will turn.”