Hull City v Bristol Rovers - The reason behind Mallik Wilks’s success for Tigers

It would be stating the obvious to say that Mallik Wilks will be crucial to Hull City’s chances of securing promotion back to the Championship.

Hull City's Mallik Wilks.
Hull City's Mallik Wilks.

The 22-year-old forward has scored 19 goals in all competitions this term, helping the Tigers to second place in the League One standings ahead of today’s home clash with Bristol Rovers

He has bagged seven times in his last four appearances, but what is the secret behind his recent purple patch?

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“He’s a big player for us, is Mallik,” City head coach Grant McCann said. “He’s obviously in a rich vein of form at the minute and hopefully he can continue that into the next 13 games.

“We’ve got good options at the front end of the pitch, they’re all pushing each other. You ask the question ‘why is Mallik’s form so good?’. That’s probably the reason, he knows he’s got people ready and waiting.

“He’s training well, he’s doing everything he can to get himself in the best place for games. We’ll just keep working with Mallik, helping him learn and making him see how he can improve.”

Wilks first linked up with McCann when the Northern Irishman took him on loan at Doncaster Rovers in 2018/19 and played the versatile attacker in every league game that season.

He was rewarded with 16 goals and almost as many assists, and the former Leeds United youngster has continued to contribute where it counts ever since the pair re-united in East Yorkshire.

It would seem fair to say that McCann has the knack of getting the best out of a somewhat mercurial talent.

“I’ve seen development in Mallik over the last two or three years,” the Hull chief added.

“Grimsby didn’t want him, they sent him back to Leeds. Accrington didn’t want him, they sent him back.

“He came to Doncaster a little bit raw and we worked with him there for the season where he ended up with 16 goals. Then he got the move to Barnsley, started well.

“I don’t know what happened there, he fell out with the manager or whatever, so we took him to Hull and he started scoring goals again for us. Since he’s been with myself and Cliff [Byrne], he is improving. It’s just knowing what boxes to tick with Mallik and how to get the best out of him. It’s all down to man-management.

“He has to fit into the way we want to play, he has to be a good team-mate and buy into the work ethic and the culture at the football club, which he’s doing – and then his ability comes out.”

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