Sheffield United should be walking the Championship, claims Hull City chief Grant McCann

GRANT McCANN is not the first manager to crank up the pressure on an opponent ahead of a derby meeting – and he will certainly not be the last either.

The view of the Hull City chief on today’s opposition in Sheffield United, who visit in a televised lunchtime game at the MKM Stadium, is an emphatic one.

In his eyes, the Blades – who currently reside in the bottom six of the Championship along with Hull – are a team ‘probably expected to win the division’.

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That said, McCann – who could welcome back key midfielder George Honeyman today – would be the first to opine that seasons are not won or lost in September.

Grant McCann: Hull City boss faces a Yorkshire derby this lunchtime against the Blades.

It is why he is also retaining perspective regarding his own side’s form, with City coming into the game on the back of a six-match winless streak and nine-hour goal drought stretching back to the opening day of the campaign on August 7.

McCann said: “They are a team who are probably expected to win the division. That is probably from in their dressing room and fanbase. I am sure every media outlet tipped them to be right up at the top end of the league if not win it.

“They have started a wee bit slowly, but with the new manager, maybe it’s taken its time on the squad. But they have serious potential throughout the group. They are a good team and they have showed that over the past couple of games in scoring eight goals, albeit conceding four. So something is starting to click. We know we have to be really organised, but also carry that threat.

“It is another tough task against a team who have probably been put together for 150 to 200 million, so this is what we are up against and what we worked so far for last season. We worked ever so hard to get to this level and play against teams like this, one who have just come down from the Premier League. We want to give a good account of ourselves.”

Ben Osborn of Sheffield United celebrates scoring the third goal in the rout of Peterborough (Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage)

Given Hull’s recent malaise in front of goal, it would be some story if a Sheffield-born player who only recently departed Bramall Lane in Tyler Smith netted a decisive strike against his hometown club.

United will be wise to that prospect, with manager Slavisa Jokanovic – whose side lost out at the death in their last meeting with White Rose opponents in Huddersfield Town – having made it plain in no uncertain terms that he will take a dim view on the concession of another punishing late goal.

They have already cost his side three points this term, most recently on Tuesday night.

Away form has also been an early bugbear for Jokanovic, whose side are yet to score on the road, with a 4-0 beating at West Brom sandwiched between poor showings at Swansea and Luton.

Now, they face a Hull side who have not won or scored a league goal at home this season. Something might just give today.

Jokanovic commented: “Right now, they are a team who are working hard without conceding so many goals. But on the other side, they have the problem of not scoring so many goals.

“I believe we can dominate them more than they can dominate us, but on the other side, they are defensively organised and we need to provide spaces to realise our attackers and cause some damage.”

Meanwhile, McCann insists he is not getting distracted by fresh takeover rumours regarding the club – after Turkish businessman Acun Ilıcalı publicly confirmed his interest in purchasing City.

The media mogul has also spoken of his desire to bring in a Turkish coach if he buys the club.

“It is not my concern. If it happens and it happens further down the line, then it is what it is. At the minute, I am really enjoying being here,” McCann said.