LIKE any vigilant ‘homeowner’, Hull City chief Grant McCann has a firm message to all would-be intruders.
The importance of home form for an aspiring side in the guise of the Tigers – led by an ambitious head coach – cannot be underestimated and after his predecessor Nigel Adkins turned the KCOM Stadium into something resembling a fortress for a significant chunk of last season, McCann is determined to preside over something similar.
After losing at home to Nottingham Forest on November 24 last year, Hull saw their colours lowered on just one more occasion in 2018-19 – a 3-0 Easter Monday reverse to promoted Sheffield United.
In McCann’s one season at previous club Doncaster Rovers last term, the club’s Keepmoat Stadium statistics proved the bedrock of their successful play-off quest – with their home record being the joint fourth-best in League One whereas their away record was ranked at a modest 12th in the division.
McCann, whose first game in East Yorkshire ended in a 2-1 victory over Reading, said: “For the aspirations we have got to be in and around the top six – and I believe this group has that – then the home form is going to be massive.
“We have to make sure it is such a tough place for anyone to come. It is almost like someone trying to break into your house. That is the way I see it. You would not let someone come in and take things.”
Meanwhile, McCann says he has been delighted by the attitude of several players who have been used sparingly at league level so far and believes it is a sign of a squad who have cultivated a sense of togetherness in his tenure so far.
McCann, who saw Eric Lichaj come off with injury at Brentford on Saturday, added: “We have got a good squad, but the attitude of Nouha Dicko, David Milinkovic and Matthew Pennington when I told them they would not be involved was excellent.
“We have got a really good, tight-knit group now. No one is throwing their toys out of the pram when they are not involved as at any given moment, like we saw on Saturday with Eric, someone like Robbie (McKenzie) could find himself in the team.
“That is how quickly it can turn for anyone.”
Last six games: Hull DDLWWD; Blackburn LDLLWW.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancs).
Last time: Hull 0 Blackburn 1, August 18, 2018.