Hull City manager Grant McCann has labelled Nottingham Forest’s boss Steve Cooper as a ‘very good manager’, speaking to Hull Live ahead of the two side’s Championship clash at The City Ground tomorrow afternoon.
Tomorrow’s hosts have lost just one of their opening 14 league matches under the Welshman, with their only defeat coming against current league leaders Fulham and they are now looking on course to push for a place in the play-offs.
Considering the 42-year-old’s track record with former club Swansea City, guiding the South Wales outfit to consecutive top-six finishes before leaving the club at the end of July, this progress perhaps shouldn’t have come as a great surprise.
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But with the East Midlands outfit winning just one point from a possible 21 under predecessor Chris Hughton before the Irishman’s dismissal, managing to turn their fortunes around so quickly will be seen as a remarkable achievement by many.
Although failing to turn draws into wins was a bit of an issue last month, they have won their last two games by a considerable margin and this elevated them up to eighth place, currently sitting just four points adrift of the play-off zone with half of the season yet to play.
This weekend’s opponents Hull have been on their own good run of form of late, going unbeaten in their last six but manager McCann is aware of the challenge his side face on the road against a tough team and a talented manager.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the match, he said: “I think they’ve been on an incredible run since Steve Cooper arrived.
“He’s taken them from the bottom of the division to not far off the play-offs. He is a very good manager and proved that at Swansea.
“We feel as if we’re in good form ourselves. We’re playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. We will go there and give it our best shot and try and come away with three points.
“They’re going to be a tough nut to crack but we’re looking forward to it. We’re going to have to be good to come away from there with points.”
This test will be a tall order for the Tigers who have been reasonably impressive in recent weeks, although recent draws have slightly halted their progress after four consecutive wins.
Their recent ties against Reading and Bristol City were probably seen as very winnable games by many Hull supporters considering the run they are on, but they did manage to keep up their unbeaten run after facing the duo and that’s important.
However, Forest look like a real force under Cooper and that’s why a lot of people will tip tomorrow’s hosts to come out on top, especially with the City Ground crowd behind them as they charge towards the play-offs.
That feel-good factor around the Reds’ camp may prove to be the different tomorrow despite Hull’s defensive solidity in most games – and the latter’s concession of a stoppage-time equaliser last weekend against Nigel Pearson’s men have taken a lot out of them mentally.
This is something Cooper’s side will have to capitalise on right from the start of the game because if they can claim a comfortable lead early on, it will be nigh on impossible for the visitors to turn it around considering the hosts’ form.