Hull City's focus is on set-piece defending ahead of trip to Stoke City

The onus at Hull City's training round this week has been very much on finding a better way to defend set-pieces.

Hull City head coach Grant McCann. Picture: Getty Images

Last Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Sheffield United saw the Tigers once again demonstrate their flakiness inside their own box at dead-ball situations as John Egan headed home two corner-kick deliveries in the space of 11 second-half minutes.

Grant McCann and his men head to Stoke City on Saturday desperate to end a seven-game wait for a Championship victory - but knowing that they have to address their very obvious shortcomings if they are to do so.

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"It's not nice because we've been in nearly every game and when I think back to the games we've lost this season, we've lost four out of five on set-plays," Hull's head coach said.

"That in itself tells you that we need to get better and we need to improve, so that's what we've done this week, we've tried to re-evaluate, to look at it, see where we are and see what we can improve on.

"It's just work, it's all we can do. We have to show the players, analyse it. There's clues in success and last season we were excellent at defending set-plays - and attacking them - but we haven't started this season well at it, there's no getting away from it.

"It's hard to put a finger on it. If we're man-marking in the box we ask people to do jobs and if someone doesn't do a job it can hurt you at times, and that's what's happened to us, so we've done a lot of work on the training ground, a lot of analysis and hopefully we can improve."

Hull have also struggled at the other end of the field, Keane Lewis-Potter's late consolation strike against the Blades their first in the league since the opening day of the season.

But, the bright impression made by new recruit Tyler Smith from the substitutes' bench last time out bodes well, as does the return to fitness of Greg Docherty and George Honeyman - two players who provided real driving force from midfield during last season's title-winning League One campaign.

Of Docherty's chances of featuring from the start at Stoke, McCann - who will also have centre-half Alfie Jones back available for selection - said: "They both have a good chance.

"Doc's obviously trained the early part of the week with the conditioning coaches to try and get up his high-speed running, his sprint distances and then he's joined in with the group the last couple of days.

"So, he's in a better place and Alfie's had a really good week's training.

"But, we've got a couple of knocks that are concerning for us, a couple of important players, but we'll give them the best opportunity to be fit and available for the weekend."

Asked whether Honeyman will be fit to start having finally recovered from a troublesome ankle problem and managed half a game against the Blades, McCann replied: "We'll see. We've got a good squad and a lot of midfield players, so we will see."