Lincoln City v Hull City - Promotion talk off the agenda for Grant McCann

HULL CITY are on the cusp of an immediate return to the Championship but manager Grant McCann is in no mood to discuss promotion.

Victory over Lincoln City today will see the Tigers promoted with two games to spare as it would put them on 86 points, making it impossible for them to finish below second place.

McCann’s side have spent much of the season top of the League One table and are guaranteed to go up as champions if they win their final three fixtures.

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The former Northern Ireland international experienced promotion three times as a player, each time going up via the play-offs.

He helped Cheltenham Town into League One in 2006 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff then was part of the Scunthorpe United team promoted to the Championship at Wembley in 2009.

He enjoyed promotion to the Championship for a second time in 2011 as Peterborough United beat Huddersfield Town 3-0 at Old Trafford.

McCann did reach the League One play-offs with Doncaster Rovers as a manager but he insists he is not looking past the challenge of Lincoln this afternoon.

“Promotion is always nice but until we get there I won’t talk about it,” he said.

On the cusp: Tigers manager Grant McCann. Picture: Tony Johnson

“Promotion is brilliant, I have enjoyed it as a player with three different clubs at three different venues.

“I don’t know if anyone has ever done that, so it is a bit unique in that sense.

“It is another tough game for us at Lincoln. They are a really good team, they have got their mojo back and they have got a really good manager with a good playing style.

“They have got threats all over the pitch and we are going to need to be at our best to win.”

Ready to go: Hull's Jacob Greaves, centre, is fit to play against Lincoln today. Picture by Simon Hulme

He continued: “I haven’t thought about it (promotion), all I have done is think about the next game.

“I just want to focus on this game, like we have done with every game until this point.

“Until we know mathematically where we are in this division, we will not get ahead of ourselves.

“I am focused on us performing against Lincoln.”

Of the last nine teams to be relegated from the Championship, Hull would become just the third club to bounce back after one season.

McCann insists there was no internal pressure on him after a disappointing relegation that saw Hull finish bottom of the Championship.

He said: “There was no pressure, internally anyway. I am not sure what it was like externally.

“This is a very tough division, there are some teams who have been in there for four to five years after dropping down from the Championship.

“The likes of Sunderland and Ipswich, there are some massive clubs in this division. We are so close but we are so far away. That is why I don’t want to speak about it until we get there.”

Lincoln are seven points behind second-placed Peterborough but do have a game in hand and are due to play the Posh on May 1.

It means the Imps will still harbour realistic ambitions of reaching the top two and McCann is not underestimating Michael Appleton’s side.

“We will have to be at our best, that is for sure,” insisted McCann.

“Lincoln have won their last three games and haven’t conceded a goal and that doesn’t surprise me because they have been in and around the top end of the league all season.

“That is because they have got a really good brand of football. Any team in that top six has a really good understanding of what they are doing. It is a tough game but it is one we are looking forward to.”

He added: “Lincoln have still got a chance in my opinion, they have got some tasty games. They have got some teams in and around the mix, they will think they have an opportunity of the top two. It is going to be a tough game, it really is.”

Supporters have been unable to attend fixtures for an entire season and will not be allowed back through the turnstiles until after the League One campaign has ended.

McCann added: “Everything we do is for the supporters and that is why I was so disappointed to see the nonsense that went on the other day with the Super League.

“Without the fans we are nothing. We are all looking forward to getting the fans back, if it is in the next division – brilliant – but we are not there yet. We need to get there first and then hopefully celebrate it with our fans.”

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