Hull City reaping rewards as rookies adjust to Championship

FOR Grant McCann, Hull City’s return to the Championship always had the potential to be a slow-burner – for one very good reason.

City head into tomorrow’s home game with Bristol City as the form side of the division, but McCann has stressed that he was never unduly worried by his team’s early-season form.

With the majority of his side having never previously been Championship regulars, there was a significant acclimatisation process in the first three months of 2021-22 which he expected.

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Now City are getting up to speed and the trick is sustaining their form with a number of players increasingly looking like they belong in the second-tier.

Hull City boss Grant McCann.  Picture Bruce RollinsonHull City boss Grant McCann.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Hull City boss Grant McCann. Picture Bruce Rollinson

McCann, whose side have taken 13 points from the last 15 available to pull away from the drop zone, said: “If I go through some of the team that have played in the last five games, it is Nathan Baxter’s first time in this division and Keane Lewis-Potter’s first time (at this level) where he is starting games and it is the same with Ryan Longman.

“The back three – Di’Shon Bernard, Sean McLoughlin and Jacob Greaves – have never really played in this division as Greg Docherty hasn’t.

“Richie (Smallwood) has at Blackburn, but they deemed him not to be good enough. George Honeyman and (Josh) Magennis have and Mallik (Wilks) has sort of. It is nearly 70 per cent of the team who have not played at this level and it is going to take time. Rome was not built in a day.

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“They are going to take time to adjust to it, but hopefully they are starting to adjust and we all are.

“We just want to keep the momentum going.”

Hull’s feats last month saw McCann and Honeyman nominated for the manager and player of the month awards for November, but the prizes went to QPR duo Mark Warburton and Chris Willock.

Despite missing out, McCann believes that the recognition – more for the club and Honeyman as opposed to himself – provides an element of kudos.

He added: “It is nice for the club and George. I am more about the players getting the recognition and he deserved that. He has been very good since he came back from injury.

“For me, it is all about the team anyway, but it is nice for players to get that individual recognition as well.”

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