AN UNWANTED club record potentially awaits Hull City this weekend, but Harry Maguire insists there are grounds for optimism at the KCOM Stadium.
The Tigers are enduring a tough time, the defeat at Watford meaning Mike Phelan’s men have suffered six straight losses.
Another home reverse against Southampton on Sunday and even the miserable run suffered by Phil Brown’s side during Hull’s debut campaign in the top flight will be eclipsed.
Worrying times, not least because injuries to key players have left Hull’s squad stretched to the limits at a level that has a tendency to punish any perceived weaknesses.
Maguire, however, believes the manner of a battling performance at Vicarage Road that, but for an unfortunate own goal by captain Michael Dawson, would have brought an end to the losing run offers hope for the future.
“We were disappointed with the result but we have to take positives,” said the former Sheffield United defender.
“If you look at the Bournemouth and Stoke games (Hull’s two defeats that preceded the trip to Watford) and then Saturday, it was much better.
“If we can keep improving again then we will have a chance of coming away with something.
“With 10 minutes to go at Watford, we were thinking that if we can’t win it then we will settle for a point and move on.
“But these things happen. There was nothing Michael could do about it.
“It was tough to take, but there are still lots of positives to take from the game and into the next one.
“We just need that little bit of momentum. Whether that is one point or three, we just need to get something on the board because everyone else around us is doing that.”
Hull may potentially be just one loss from an unwanted club record, but their travails are nowhere near as bad as those that others have suffered in the Premier League.
Sunderland, for instance, went 15 games without collecting a point in 2002-03 and then lost nine in a row on their return three seasons later.
Ipswich, too, once lost nine games in a row.
Hull head to the Stadium of Light on the first weekend after this month’s international break, but it is Sunday’s visit of Southampton and the need to end a four-game losing run on home soil that is focusing minds.
“I feel like we’ve not performed at home since the Manchester United game (on August 27 that Hull lost in stoppage time),” added Maguire.
“So, we have got to be better than we have been no matter what formation the gaffer decides to go with, whether that is more attacking or not.
“He will come up with a game plan and if we can execute it as well as we did in parts against Watford, including that little bit more quality in the final third, then I am sure we can get something.”
Hull certainly looked much more solid at Vicarage Road due to employing a 3-5-2 formation that better suits the depleted resources at Phelan’s disposal.
“We played it (the formation) down at Bristol City last week (in the 2-1 EFL Cup win), but we have played it numerous times over the last few years,” added Maguire.
“We are all very comfortable with it. You could say it needs a lot of work to adapt, but we have all been there before and played it. We don’t really need to work on it too much.
“The players worked tirelessly all week (before Watford), to stay in the game and also create chances. Had we got that first goal I am sure we could have seen it through.”
As for the impending visit of Southampton, Maguire added: “We have to take the positives into the game. We were all very disappointed after Watford, but it was a lot more organised and structured. It was just a very unlucky finish with Michael scoring the own goal.”