Hull City

Talking Points: Grant McCann Press Conference

07 November 2019
Head Coach Grant McCann spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with West Bromwich Albion.

Here are the key points from his pre-match press conference:

On team news…
There’ll be no Jon Toral at the weekend. It’s disappointing for us and frustrating for Jon because he’s been in good form, but it is what it is. He’ll miss the weekend and we’ll see how he is after that. He’s had a scan and we’ll take it from there. In terms of the extent of it, we probably won’t know until after the weekend.

On who can replace Toral in the number 10 role…
Injuries are the reason we have a good-sized squad. We’ve got good options in the position and Jon’s absence will provide an opportunity for someone else. We’ve got ‘Eavesy’ (Tom Eaves) who can come back into the side. Keane Lewis-Potter has been training really well and scored for the U23s on Monday when playing as a number 10. Jackson (Irvine) can play there. George Honeyman can play there, while we could also bring Kevin Stewart back into the team. We’ve got several different options available to us and it’s just making sure we pick the right one.

On Norbert Balogh’s progress…
Norbet’s getting there! He’s not too far off. Although he won’t be available for the weekend, he’s coming along nicely.

On making changes to a winning team…
Just because we’ve won the last three games doesn’t mean we automatically go again with the same team. We’ve got to make sure we pick the team that’s right to try and unsettle West Brom. It’s not going to be easy because we’re playing against the best team in the league at this moment in time. They’re top of the league itself and top of the form table. I watched them on Monday night (away at Stoke City) and we know it’s going to be difficult.

On confidence levels…
Obviously results are important but the lads have always been confident. They’re a really good group of boys, which is something I’ve said repeatedly since the first few weeks of pre-season. They train really well and apply themselves really well every single day. It’s great to see them getting rewarded for their hard work now. No-one is getting carried away though. Yes, we’re in good form but we’ve got a tough game at the weekend and it is one that we’re all looking forward to.

On the challenge of facing West Brom…
Our only focus is on the job in hand. We’re in good form at the minute and we just want to try and continue that on Saturday. The boys are in confident mood and a positive frame of mind. Once again, they’ve trained very well in the build-up to this weekend’s fixture and we’re all looking forward to the challenge. I don’t think Saturday’s game will determine whether we’re going to be challenging at the top end of the table – ie the top six – or not.

We’re still only in November and there are plenty more games to come. Yes, we’d love to end this cycle of games on a winning note. I reminded the lads today that we were appalling in our last game before the previous international break away at Huddersfield. I just told them all to forget about the break, just focus on West Brom. The message to the players is to make sure they go out and perform well.

On reports saying Matthew Pennington wants to return to Everton…
I don’t know where the story about him wanting to go back to Everton has come from. ‘Penno’ hasn’t spoken to anyone, so maybe it’s just someone looking at it and thinking he wants to go back just because he hasn’t played. ‘Penno’ is happy here and is enjoying his time at the club. He knows he’s got strong competition for a starting role at the back, as does Ryan Tafazolli. People do make stories up all the time though and I’m not sure where that one has come from.

On the January Transfer Window…
We’ve always got plans. We’re always looking to the future to make sure we’re not caught short. However, at the minute, I feel as if we’ve got a good squad of players. It’s always important to look to strengthen the squad in January if you can but I’m happy with the squad and the depth we’ve got. We’ve got cover for every position and players that can play in a number of different roles.

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