Hull City’s start to the 2019/20 season has been inconsistent, with the Tigers currently sitting in 14th position in the table having collected nine points from their opening eight games under new manager Grant McCann.
That should perhaps come as little surprise given the summer upheaval at the KCOM Stadium, with Nigel Adkins leaving the club at the end of last season despite performing reasonably well in stabilising the club and guiding them to a 13th place finish.
Hull turned to McCann to replace the departing Adkins, convincing the former Peterborough United boss to leave Doncaster Rovers after just one season in charge of the club in which he guided Rovers to a sixth place finish in League 1, before being eventually beaten in the semi-finals by eventual play-off winners Charlton Athletic.
McCann’s arrival was viewed postively by most of Hull supporters and there was hope that the 39-year-old could get the club to build on the postives from the previous campaign, and get the Tigers pushing for a place in the Championship’s top six.
However, so far in his opening eight league games in charge of the club McCann has only managed to record two victories, which have included a 2-1 win at home to Reading and Saturday’s 3-0 win at Luton Town, while the Tigers have drawn three and lost three of their other games.
There have been signs though in Hull’s last few matches, which have seen McCann’s team go unbeaten in three games after a loss at home to Bristol City, that the Tigers are starting to improve under their new manager and could be close to getting things spot on.
Here we take a look at two reasons Hull are starting to show progress under McCann…
Hull’s attack is starting to click
One of Hull City’s biggest strenghs last season was their attacking threat, with the Tigers managing to score 66 goals in their 46 matches at an average of 1.4 goals per game, which was largely due to the excellent form of their two wide men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki who contributed to just under half of the club’s goals, with Bowen scoring 22 and Grosicki registering nine league goals.
Crucially McCann’s side managed to keep hold of both players during the summer transfer window, and both are already beginning to show their worth once again, with Bowen already hitting four goals and an assist and Grosicki registering three goals and an assist.
However, before the last three matches Hull had only scored five goals in their opening five games with the Tigers a little two reliant on their two wide men, but McCann’s side have subsequently scored six goals in their last three games with Kevin Stewart’s double from midfield against Luton last time out showing their are other players who can step up.
It will be vital that Hull continue to show that they have more threats for the opposition to worry about than just Bowen and Grosicki, with pressure on McCann to start getting the best out of summer signing Tom Eaves who will need to replace some of the 12 goals scored last season by the departed Fraizer Campbell.
McCann finding best eleven and playing style
When any new manager comes into a club their first real task is to find their best available starting line-up and the best way of getting the best out of their players, and there were signs during Hull’s impressive 3-0 win at Luton last weekend that McCann is beginning to do just that.
In the second half in particular, as McCann himself alluded to, Hull showed much more of a threat on the counter-attack and an ability to use the pace within their side to create plenty of problems for opposing teams in transition, and the Tigers could have and maybe should have won the game by a bigger margin in the end.
The eleven who started the game at Luton looks like Hull’s best possible team at the moment, and it will be intersting to see whether McCann can start to find some consistency from his players in the coming weeks, starting with Saturday’s game against Cardiff City at the KCOM Stadium.