Hull City left-back Callum Elder has hailed the impact of the three substitutes from the weekend as they salvaged a point away to Reading on Saturday.
Mallik Wilks scored his first goal for the Tigers as he latched onto a pass from Keane Lewis-Potter to equalise in the 82nd-minute, following Jordan Obita’s opener for the hosts 11 minutes into the second half.
It wasn’t the most lively performance from either side, but a point for Hull City could prove important in lifting the spirits of the club, after they lost both Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen on transfer deadline day, before being thumped 5-1 at home by Brentford the following day.
Wilks came in to help stem the flow of negativity surrounding the impending exits of the attacking duo, signing on-loan from fellow Yorkshire outfit Barnsley and repaid manager Grant McCann’s faith on Saturday at the Madejski.
The goal came following solid work from all three of McCann’s substitutes in the second half, with Josh Magennis winning the initial aerial duel before neat work out wide from Lewis-Potter to tee up Wilks in front of the travelling fans.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the returning left-back Callum Elder heaped praise on the trio after their crucial impact. He stated: “I thought all three subs made a really positive impact after coming on.
“Josh won a lot of his headers and was a big presence for us. Mallik showed his strength and speed and scored a great goal.
“Everyone was delighted for him to get off the mark and I’m sure the goal will do wonders for his confidence.
“And ‘Keano’ was a threat when he came on as well. He got himself into good areas in the final third and got the assist for the equaliser. It was a very much a team effort on Saturday and that was pleasing to see.”
Reflecting on the point the Tigers gained at the Madejski Stadium, Elder added: “It was a good point for us, but the main thing was the performance. Going into the game on the back of results we’ve had of late, the lads responded really well.
“We showed big belief in the dressing room and worked hard to implicate the game-plan that the gaffer had set out for us.
“I was proud of the way we responded to going behind. Heads could’ve dropped at that point but we showed our character, fought back and came away with what was a deserved point. I thought a point was the minimum we deserved on Saturday.
“It’s all about us sticking together now. You can face adversity at any point of the season and we’ve responded well after losing five games on the spin.
“We’ve regrouped and we now need to build on the draw when we go to Blackburn on Tuesday night and put in another good performance.”
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A lot of credit has to go to Grant McCann for making the changes that he did, switching the formation around to get more attacking players on the pitch.
Magennis’ return to the side along with the arrival of Wilks could go some way to helping deal with the blow of losing their two main goalscorers in January.
It wasn’t a vintage performance from the Tigers but they showed good character to stay in the game and got their reward for a good piece of play.
Wilks’ confidence will be sky-high now after opening his Hull City account, especially given his quiet spell at Barnsley this season, so McCann will be hopeful of more to come from him.