Preston North End v Hull City: Grant McCann braced for ‘tough’ season

Grant McCann ranks the Championship as “one of the toughest divisions in the world”, but says his Hull CIty players are looking forward to the challenge of proving their doubters wrong in 2021-22.

The newly-promoted Tigers, who kick-off their campaign away at Preston North End this afternoon, are among the bookies’ favourites for relegation and are being written off in some quarters before a ball has been kicked.

And although the Northern Irishman is under no illusions regarding the task at hand this term, he insists that his players are excited by the prospect of what lies ahead.

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“I think the Championship is one of the toughest divisions in the world outside of the big leagues,” McCann said.

Hull City manager Grant McCann.

“It’s relentless. There’s a lot of teams in there with huge budgets, huge resources, so you have to be very good to win. I think it’s a big challenge, I think it is a challenge that everyone here is really excited about.

“Already we have seen that people have us down as relegation favourites, which is great because that [being written off] happens every single year and we’ll take that challenge and go and try prove people wrong.”

As a promoted club in such a competitive division, it is hardly a surprise to see Hull being tipped to struggle, and even McCann admits he expected nothing less.

That said, the Tigers chief – and his team – are certain to take plenty of satisfaction if they manage to make their critics eat their words once again.

“We expected it. It’s been no different since I’ve been at the football club. We’ve been written off constantly, even last season, so the players understand, they know where they’re at,” he added.

“They’ve seen some of the reports as well. They know that there are a lot of people out there who have written us off already, so we’ve got nothing to lose. We’ll go into every game and try to enjoy it, embrace it, show what we’re about and get some results.

“I think that in any industry, when someone is constantly calling you out and telling you that you’re not good enough but you prove them wrong, it’s good isn’t it? It’s a nice feeling and that’s not just in football.

“Football is about opinions and I understand that, but we as a football club, as a group of players and staff, we know that we’ve got a real good connection, unity and culture, so we’ll see where we end up.”