Hull City chief’s gamble pays off thanks to Gavin Whyte

GAVIN WHYTE repaid Hull City chief Grant McCann’s faith with a match-winning performance against Bristol Rovers.

Well done: Hull City's Lewis Coyle congratulates Gavin Whyte after scoring his second goal. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

The on-loan Cardiff City winger bagged a goal in each half to fire the Tigers back to the top of League One with 12 games of the season remaining.

In doing so, the 25-year-old demonstrated the kind of ability that saw him become a regular in a promotion-chasing Championship side last term. It was a big improvement on his previous City outing, where he struggled to influence the contest and was substituted as the East Yorkshiremen beat Rochdale 2-0 in midweek.

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With Josh Magennis fit again after injury, McCann had a decision to make in the final third for Saturday’s visit of struggling Rovers, but opted to rest Keane Lewis-Potter and stick with Whyte.

Ultimately, that decision proved to be a good one.

“You’ve got to remember that Gavin has missed three or four weeks with an injury so, like any professional footballer will tell you, it takes a bit of time to get back up to where you can be,” said McCann.

“Gavin was part of a Cardiff City team last year that got into the top six in the Championship. He’s a top player, an international player.

“Today was more about freshening up Keane [Lewis-Potter] and giving him a breather. Gavin has been training really well, his performance against Rochdale, there was nothing wrong with it.

“He was probably a little bit defensive with his positioning at times. It’s about getting him into better positions so that he can affect the game and I think that his two goals proved that he can do that, so I’m really pleased.”

Rovers left-back Cian Harries was culpable for Whyte’s 32nd-minute opener after trying to see out the ball for a goal-kick on the right touchline.

Mallik Wilks refused to give up the cause and craftily gained possession before crossing for his team-mate to volley into the bottom corner.

Whyte’s second came on the hour-mark after George Honeyman selflessly teed up the Northen Ireland international to stab home from just outside the six-yard box.

Encouraged by his loan star’s performance, McCann insisted there is still more to come from the versatile attacker.

“There is a lot more in him, for sure,” he added.

“Maybe he has been used to playing off the right a lot in his career, but we do know that he can play off the left. He’s probably a wee bit more direct when he plays off the right. He’ll take people on more.

“Off the left, he finds little pockets he’s clever on the ball, he wants to come in and link with Magennis and Wilks, so it’s a nice string to his bow that he can play in a few positions.”

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