Hull City v Wigan Athletic - Covid issues restricting number of changes Grant McCann can make for cup tie

AS a promoted club at the start of a new season, it is probably easy to deduce what Hull City’s priority will be over the next eight days.

Three successive home assignments in league and cup arrive and most pragmatists who follow the amber and black will view a positive haul of points in two eminently winnable games against the visiting duo of QPR and Derby County as more important than Carabao Cup progression this evening, with all due respect to opponents Wigan.

The Latics’ last visit to East Yorkshire – ironically in Hull’s last home game – was far more consequential in May as City won 3-1 to clinch their first league title in 55 years amid joyous scenes.

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That said, it does not stop head coach Grant McCann from being greedy and victories in the early rounds at the beginning of last term against Sunderland and then Leeds United played their part in helping to reinvigorate spirits after the club’s desperate second half of 2019-20.

Selection headache: Hull City manager Grant McCann. Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire.

After his players’ outstanding feats – and exertions – in their handsome opening-day Championship victory at Preston, McCann is likely to freshen up his side, even though he will be handicapped in terms of options.

Summer signings Ryan Longman and Randell Williams are ruled out due to Covid issues, alongside Sean McLoughlin, although the trio could return for Saturday’s game with QPR.

Influential left-back Callum Elder has also been earmarked for a return against the R’s after missing the opener at Deepdale.

Despite young left-back Brandon Fleming being an unused replacement on the bench on Saturday, McCann says that the Dewsbury-born defender is still some way off full fitness after being struck down with Covid-19 in pre-season.

The Tigers chief said: “He is way down in terms of his fitness levels and is going to be a slow recovery from this.

“People do not realise how much of an effect it can have on you. Brandon is getting there and picking up speed a little bit more, but he is probably still 60 to 70 per cent.”

Last six games: Hull WDWWLW; Wigan WWDLLL.

Referee: M Coy (Co.Durham).

Last time: Hull 3 Wigan 1, May 1, 2021; League One.