With the Championship’s top three in his sights, Grant McCann wants Hull City to drop their tag of plucky losers.
The Tigers gave Leeds United a real fright on Tuesday, but came out 2-0 losers. It was a similar story when the Whites’ title rivals West Bromwich Albion won 1-0 in East Yorkshire.
McCann, whose team can go ninth with victory at Charlton Athletic in tonight’s televised game, wants an end to the sob stories.
“I’ll take the positives out of Tuesday but there are areas we can improve,” said McCann. “I feel as if we’re getting very close to where we can be.
“I really appreciate Marcelo Bielsa standing and speaking to me afterwards and telling me how well he thought we’d played but we want to be told that when we win. We had that when (West Brom manager) Slaven Bilic came to us last month telling us we were an excellent team, one of the best he’s played against.
“We want to do that when we win. That’s where we need to get to.”
I feel as if we’re getting very close to where we can be.Grant McCann
On other occasions Hull have matched the result to the quality of their performances against the big teams, beating Preston North End 4-0, Fulham 3-0, Derby County 2-0, Nottingham Forest 2-1 and Sheffield Wednesday 1-0. That it has only got them to mid-table shows their inconsistency, but also what they are capable of.
“We’re 21 games into the season and we’re six points off third place,” McCann pointed out. “We’re close. We’re okay with where we are at the minute.
“We’re two wins away from the top three – which can easily be achieved in the space of a week in the Championship.
“If you’re not on your game you can drop points. In terms of our consistency, we’ve got better. However, there are still areas where we can improve but we’re getting there.”
Hull’s stretched squad did not pick up any fresh injuries in midweek. Norbert Balogh has been given time away as he recovers from a calf injury which has kept him out since October, and McCann said there was a possibility fellow striker Josh Magennis could be back “over the next 10 days to two weeks”.
“With the quick turnaround in games and because he can’t do anything out on the pitches at the minute, we just wanted to get his (Balogh’s) head back in the right place and give him a little breather,” he explained. “He’ll come back in with us next week.
“It’s been a frustrating time for Norbert because we all thought he was on the right track. To have a setback wasn’t good for him mentally so it was important to give him a breather.
“We thought we’d have him back next week and he’s picked up another niggle again. We’ve had him scanned and x-rayed and there’s nothing new there. But he wasn’t in a good place when he last came off the training ground, so we gave him a little break away from the club to spend with his family.
“I’d love to have (Magennis) back for the Birmingham game (a week tomorrow) but we’ll just have to wait and see. We’re pushing him every single day but it’s all about how he feels in himself over the next week or so.”
Meanwhile, Charlton manager Lee Bowyer has revealed he tried to sign Tom Eaves in the summer but when he was unable to get permission from the board, the path was free for Hull to sign the centre-forward.
“We were interested in him but weren’t allowed to bring him in,” revealed Bowyer. “We spoke with him, but we weren’t allowed.
“He doesn’t score many goals (two this season) but he does a lot for the team. They get around him – he’s a big targetman that causes problems.
“They’ve got players who can hurt you and are established Championship players.”
Last six games: Charlton Athletic LDLLLL; Hull City LDWLWL.
Referee: A Davies (Hampshire).
Last time: Charlton Athletic 2 Hull City 1, August 22, 2015, Championship.