Hull City

Talking Points: Grant McCann Press Conference

18 June 2020
Head Coach Grant McCann spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s Sky Bet Championship home game against Charlton Athletic.

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

On the departures of Lichaj, Irvine, Kingsley & Maddison…
Yes, we’ve lost some players but I would rather focus on the nine players who have signed and committed themselves to the Club. It’s testament to them that want to stay here and help the team for these next nine games. So, we’ll concentre on the nine who have stayed. We’ll look to get the best out of those, along with the rest of the group, in the remainder of the season.

On Mallik Wilks’ future…
Mallik can play in our first two games of the restart and the Club is in good conversation with Barnsley over his loan deal so hopefully we can keep him. He was in good form before the shutdown and had scored three goals in eight or nine games. He’s a real threat and, at this present time, is fully focused on our next two games. He’s in a really good place and understands his role and responsibility if he’s called upon at the weekend.

On his players’ fitness levels…
It was a tough three months for everyone in lockdown, not just in football but in every walk of life. All we could do was try to make sure the boys were focused on the plans that we set them and I must say that since we came back they’ve been outstanding. The biggest and most pleasing thing for us is that we now have a fully fit squad. Going into the Stoke City game, we had nine or ten players out through injury, but to now have those players back is a real positive for us and has made us so much stronger. The boys are in a good place – both physically and mentally. They’ve all come back fitter, stronger and sharper than they were before the break. Although we’ve had a few bumps and bruises, everyone is available for the weekend which gives me some good decisions to make going into Saturday’s game.

On his team’s form before the break…
I think it’s irrelevant. The break was actually longer than a normal pre-season, so whatever happened before the break has happened and all we’re focused on are these next nine games. It’s almost like a nine-game mini season for us now. That is what it’s all about. Thankfully, we’ve got everyone back. We feel good, we feel confident and we feel as if we’ve got our swagger back. We’re going to approach these remaining games as best we can and look to win as many as we can. First up is Charlton and our only focus is on getting a positive result this weekend.

On the forthcoming busy schedule…
It’s going to be testing for everyone to have so many games in such a short period of time. It’s worked out ok for us though. The league have got rid of the first midweek fixture so it goes Saturday-Saturday-Thursday for us, which is fine. But, after that, it becomes relentless. That’s when it will be all about us maintaining the players’ fitness levels and making sure we have enough players fit and available whilst trying to keep them away from the physio room. That will be the same for every club in the division though. There will be injuries – like you saw in the Manchester City-Arsenal game last night with Arsenal having to make two changes within the 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s going to happen but we just have to make sure the players recover well and get them right for the next game because that’s the most important thing.

On the test of facing Charlton…
Everyone in the group is really looking forward to the game. We’ve had a good few weeks of training and some good friendly games to help us prepare. We’ve trained at the KCOM as well and we understand what everything will look and feel like with no fans inside. I’ve been really impressed with the mentality of the group since they’ve come back. They understand we’ve got nine big games, starting against Charlton at the weekend, and we want to get off to a good start. As I say, it’s a game that we’re all looking forward to and hopefully we can come away with the right result.

Please remember, all remaining 2019/20 fixtures will be taking place behind closed doors but you can still watch the action live on Tigers TV. For full details, click here.

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