Hull City boosted their Championship survival hopes at the weekend as they beat fellow relegation strugglers Barnsley on their own patch.
Goals from George Honeyman and Keane Lewis-Potter proved to be crucial for the Tigers, who had the better chances during the game and could have had at least another one or two goals on the day.
However, the only thing that will matter to them is the three points – and this is a huge relief for them going into the international break after losing five games on the spin.
Quiz: 30 questions about some of Hull City’s best ever players – Can you score 100% correct?
During this torrid spell, they scored just once and look doomed going into their tie against a Barnsley side that had managed to chalk up their own much-needed win in midweek against bottom club Derby County.
For Grant McCann’s men, they may still be in the relegation zone as things stand, but they have taken a huge step in dragging themselves away from danger and will be hoping to capitalise on this momentum after this international interval.
Focusing more on this game though, we have identified three things we learnt about the East Yorkshire outfit after a professional 2-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.
They will do well to keep Lewis-Potter beyond January
The 20-year-old performed exceptionally well at the weekend and was a key figure in his side’s 2-0 victory, not just because he scored their second.
He took his goal exceptionally well at such an important moment for the visitors, but the fact he should have had two assists makes his performance even more impressive and he will continue to be a vital player for the Tigers in their quest for survival.
Although Hull are likely to be on the back foot against many teams for the remainder of the season as one of the weaker sides in the division, this will suit Lewis-Potter who looked incredibly dangerous on the counter-attack at Oakwell.
Linked with Premier League sides Southampton, Brentford and West Ham in recent months and recording a respectable six goal contributions in 17 games this term, the East Yorkshire side could be in real danger of losing him during the winter window. And at just 20, there’s plenty of time for him to improve.
Di’shon Bernard will be an asset – on one condition
Bernard was a commanding figure at the back at the weekend and played a huge part in the Championship strugglers’ clean sheet, there can be no doubts about that.
However, he was at his best against the Tykes when he kept it simple, something all defenders should be doing as their first priority.
Manager McCann would ideally want his side to play out from the back at times and not always rely on direct balls, but he will know this comes with risks and in their bid to survive, they will need to cut out unforced errors to give themselves the best possible chance.
During the second half, a no-nonsense direct ball out of the 18-yard box from the Manchester United loanee was key in a dangerous Hull counter and this needs to be a key positive for the 21-year-old, who was exceptional and deserves to start again after the international break.
Josh Emmanuel’s almost-costly attempt to be cute with a short pass under pressure during the second 45 shows why the Tigers need to keep things simple.
They need to build their squad around Honeyman
Getting himself in the right position to tuck the ball home for his side’s opener, he was also vital with his assist for Lewis-Potter’s goal and heavily influenced proceedings throughout the game.
If they want to escape the drop, his creativity will be crucial and like his 20-year-old teammate, he looks very dangerous on the counter-attack.
Building their team around him will be crucial if they want to remain in the Championship for the long term, something that isn’t certain at this stage. But they have every chance of making that a reality if they can keep the midfielder fully fit – a massive challenge during a 46-game season.
After this international break, there won’t be another one until March, making this an even harder task.