HULL CITY have not had it easy this season.
Signings have proved difficult, Oliver Norwood opting to join Sheffield United this week being typical of how things have gone for Nigel Adkins since George Long became the club’s last addition on July 18.
Holding on to a lead has proved equally problematic with a first-half advantage against both Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday in the opening two Championship fixtures yielding just one point.
Out of adversity, however, comes opportunity and Hull seized that chance to get their campaign up and running in Tuesday night’s trip to Sheffield United in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Having contributed fully to a cracking all-Yorkshire tie, Adkins’s men held their nerve amid the pressure of a penalty shoot-out that went the way of the East Riding club by a 5-4 winning margin.
“It was a backs to the wall job at times,” defender Angus MacDonald told The Yorkshire Post.
“Though we did also play some great football as well. It is the best way to win a game, 100 per cent.
“I felt it said a lot about our spirit. It also showed the strength in depth of our squad, as there were quite a few young lads making their debut against Sheffield United.
“Hopefully, we can use this to kick on – starting with Saturday.”
City host Blackburn Rovers this weekend and Adkins is hoping to make progress in the loan market. Head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough was watching two prospective signings on Tuesday night in the Cup.
Both are understood to have started for a Championship club.
For Adkins, progress is needed in the transfer market and fast. Almost a month has elapsed since he made a signing, with Norwood’s decision to join the Blades coming as a blow.
Injuries to Reece Burke, Nouha Dicko and Robbie McKenzie in the Cup win over Chris Wilder’s United have further stretched a squad that already looked slim by Championship standards.
“That is not something for us to bother about,” added MacDonald when asked about the need to strengthen before the window closes on August 31.
“If a new face comes through the door, we will welcome him like we always would. Then get on with our jobs.
“But, so far, no-one has come through the door so we just get on with our jobs.”
MacDonald was one of several to impress against the Blades in the heart of the Tigers defence. Jon Toral caught the eye throughout, while Adam Curry had a very strong game on debut in a three-man backline.
“We had only worked on the new shape for a couple of days,” added MacDonald, the former Barnsley defender.
“I thought we did well and things worked well. Being able to play with that shape adds another string to our bow.
“I have not played three at the back many times before. But, as a senior player, you have to adapt and help bring the young lads through.”
City will discover the identity of their second round opponents tonight but the focus is now firmly on the Championship, the home encounter with Blackburn on Saturday being followed by a trip to Rotherham United on Tuesday.
MacDonald added: “We probably weren’t at the right end of the table last season but we have kicked on again. Hopefully, we can finish at the right end this season.”