Hull City need to rediscover their mojo after paying the penalty

Got it: Hull City's Mallik Wilks challenges Milton Keynes Dons goalkeeper Andy Fisher. Picture: PAGot it: Hull City's Mallik Wilks challenges Milton Keynes Dons goalkeeper Andy Fisher. Picture: PA
Got it: Hull City's Mallik Wilks challenges Milton Keynes Dons goalkeeper Andy Fisher. Picture: PA
They may have won just one of their last five League One outings and scored only once during that time, but Grant McCann insists that Hull City are not “on the slide”.

The misfiring Tigers remain second in the table despite Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Milton Keynes Dons, the third consecutive match in which they failed to find the net.

As a result of their recent lean spell, the East Yorkshiremen’s hopes of securing a top-two finish and automatic promotion back to the Championship appear to be very much out of their own hands.

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However, although City’s head coach accepts that his team must improve in the final third, he is adamant that there is no cause for panic.

“Are we on the slide? No. I think we’re still in a good position in the league and we’ve got 18 games to go,” said McCann.

“I think in any season you’re gonna have dips in form and, at this present time, it’s happening to us, definitely the attacking element to our game – and that’s us as a team.

“We need to find our mojo back, we need to find that killer instinct whether it’s a shot, a cross, a set-play, whatever it might be we need to find that edge to our game.

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“Our performance levels have been good, but I would take a rubbish performance and win the game 1-0 every day of the week, don’t get me wrong.”

City sat top of the pile as recently as 10 days ago – albeit having played a match more than current leaders Lincoln – but they could very easily find themselves down in fifth spot once their fellow promotion-hopefuls complete their games in hand.

McCann’s men have 49 points to their name from 28 outings and thus, winning the title looks an extremely long shot given that the Imps sit three points clear having completed just 26 of their fixtures.

Third-placed Peterborough United and fourth-placed Portsmouth also hold a couple of games in hand on the Tigers, with Posh level on points and Pompey just one further behind.

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Doncaster Rovers, fifth, have racked up 48 points despite playing three less than Hull and would already have overtaken their Yorkshire rivals had they not lost their last two matches.

Yet McCann is predicting that the teams at the top of the division will continue to drop plenty of points between now and the end of 2020-21.

“I think this season we will probably see teams getting promoted on a record low number of points, just because of the way it’s been, how many games there are through the season – Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday all the way through now,” he added.

“There’s gonna be people taking points off each other, people dropping points.

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“We’ve got to find our own form back in terms of the goal-scoring aspect, there’s no question about that.

“I’d be more concerned if we weren’t creating opportunities, that would really concern me, but we are. We just need to get that mojo back.”

Having begun sluggishly, Hull eventually woke up and spurned a great opportunity to take the lead with 10 minutes on the clock.

Josh Magennis’s flick sent Keane Lewis-Potter through on goal, though he took a poor touch and Milton Keynes goalkeeper Andrew Fisher was out quickly to smother the ball.

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At the other end, Matt Ingram produced a stunning reaction stop to thwart Will Grigg from close range.

Hull’s Mallik Wilks then intercepted a poor Fisher clearance near halfway and, spotting the goalkeeper was well off his line, let fly with an audacious effort which flew narrowly wide.

Wilks cleared the bar from just outside the six-yard area before half-time, and the Tigers continued to look the more likely after the interval. Dan Crowley, Lewis-Potter and George Honeyman all saw shots blocked inside the area and Greg Docherty drew a fine save out of Fisher.

But City were stung on 80 minutes when Docherty was penalised for handball inside his own area and Scott Fraser converted from 12 yards.

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Jacob Greaves did have a chance to salvage a late point, though he was off-target with a free header from Honeyman’s inviting right-wing free-kick.

Hull City: Ingram; Coyle, Burke, Greaves, Elder; Honeyman, Crowley (Chadwick 64), Docherty; Wilks, Magennis, Lewis-Potter. Unused substitutes: Long, Scott, Emmanuel, Flores, McLoughlin, Slater.

MK Dons: Fisher; O’Hora, Darling, Lewington; Laird (Harvie 81), O’Riley, Surman, Fraser, Jules (Sorinola 67); Mason (Gladwin 81), Grigg. Unused substitutes: Nicholls, Brown, Sorensen, Freeman.

Referee: D Bourne (Notts).

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