The Tigers head to Swansea City on Saturday refreshed following a fortnight off, and head coach Grant McCann believes that his team are in a better place than they were two weeks ago.
“We’ve worked really hard this week. It’s given us a real opportunity to work tactically, technically and physically with the players,” the Northern Irishman said.
“I believe that we go into Saturday a lot stronger than we were before the break.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of important players missing the last four games. For Swansea, it’s obviously a transitional period with the new manager going in, so I think both clubs will see an improvement after the international break, but hopefully it’s us that come out on top on Saturday.”
The Tigers will be boosted by the return from injury of last season’s top-scorer, Mallik Wilks (leg), though influential midfielder George Honeyman (ankle) isn’t quite ready.
“Mallik is good, he’s been training for the last two weeks, so he’s in a good place,” McCann added.
“George – this game might come too soon for him. He’s been working very hard on the training pitches with the conditioning coaches and he’s building again.
“He’s looking great. For example, we do a time trial, which is a gruelling test for the players, and George blew his pre-season results out of the water, it’s just that short, sharp stuff that he’s missing – and obviously games.
“But, we’re looking to have him back training with the group next week. Tuesday’s game will possibly come too soon, but it’s George Honeyman so we don’t know, he’s already two or three weeks ahead of schedule and that shows the hard work and dedication that’s going in to trying to get him back.”
Centre-half Alfie Jones (thigh) has been ruled out of the trip to Wales, though striker Josh Magennis (hip) could feature.
“Unfortunately, during the early part of this week, Alfie felt his thigh, which is so annoying. He’s not going to make the weekend. It’s not bad, he’ll be touch and go for Tuesday,” McCann revealed.
“We’re definitely not ruling Magennis out, he seems good in terms of where he is at this present time but we’ll make a judgement call on that on Friday.”