Hull CIty boss Grant McCann has told Markus Henriksen that he needs to fight to win his place back ahead of today’s Championship meeting with Wigan Athletic.
The Norwegian international midfielder was stripped of the captaincy by his new manager earlier this summer and was widely expected to leave the KCOM Stadium.
A move did not materialise, however, and although Henriksen has found himself frozen out since a pre-season appearance against Mansfield Town in late July, McCann says he will consider the 27-year-old for selection moving forward.
“He’s part of the group, like everybody else. For whatever reason, one reason or another, it didn’t materialise – the move away,” said the Tigers chief.
“Now Markus is here and he’s part of us and like everybody else he’ll fight and try and work to be a part of the group.
“You get your head down, you start working, you’re up against a very good midfield six who have all contributed hugely in the eight games we’ve played and I’ve been really pleased with them.”
Now Markus is here and he’s part of us and like everybody else he’ll fight and try and work to be a part of the group.Grant McCann
The onus is however very much on Henriksen, who won a 50th cap for Norway recently, to prove himself worthy of a recall.
Asked if the former AZ Alkmaar man has to convince him that he deserves to be picked, McCann replied: “Of course. They all do, every single one of them do every day. Markus is no different, they all work ever so hard in training. That’s just the way we are.
“Now it’s down to him, not me.”
Henriksen’s hopes of an immediate return to the fray have not been helped by the swift recovery from injury of a number of his City team-mates.
Defenders Reece Burke and Matthew Pennington, and midfielder Jon Toral – who were all forced off the pitch during the 1-1 draw at Millwall last time out –have been training this week and could feature against Wigan.
Left-back Stephen Kingsley, absent for the trip to The Den with a hamstring strain, also comes back into contention.
“They’re looking good, they’ve all been on the grass. All have got a chance for the weekend,” added McCann. “Whether we take a risk with one or two of them, we’ll wait and see but most of them are luckily not as bad we first thought after the Millwall game.
“When you get hamstring injuries you’ve got to be a bit careful with them so it’s been really pleasing to see a lot of them on the grass this week.
“One or two of them probably will be involved.”