Hull City’s Championship form hasn’t been helped by their injury list.
Fans have seen a miserable record since the January deadline day sales of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki while the treatment room has been overcrowded.
Keane Lewis-Potter (hamstring) is hoping to be in contention but Jordy de Wijs (calf), Reece Burke (calf), Jon Toral (hamstring), Eric Lichaj (ankle), Herbie Kane (ankle), Josh Bowler (heel), James Scott (ankle) and Tom Eaves (ankle) are all out for the longer term.
So manager Grant McCann, who brings his team to Stoke City this weekend, has had to put his faith in youth, like 21 year olds winger Mallik Wilks, right-back Robbie McKenzie, midfielder Leonardo da Silva Lopes.
But McCann is confident they can handle any pressure.
“Yes,” he said at his press conference this afternoon. “They’ve been thrown into the lions’ den a little bit over recent weeks but they’ve put in some really good performances.
“Yes, the results haven’t been there but individually, some of them have been putting in some very good performances. It’ll hold them in good stead for the future. I’m looking forward to seeing them play again.”
McCann is adamant that Hull were ‘one of the best teams in the league’ until the wheels started to come off. They are now winless in 11 in all competitions.
“If you look at our season as a whole, I think you’ve seen our style of play come out right up until a certain point,” he said.
“In my opinion we were one of the best teams in the league. Unfortunately circumstances have happened that everyone knows about and we’ve gone on a bit of a dodgy run.
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“We know we’re a good team. We know we’ve got good players in the building and we know we can hurt teams in this league. It’s about time we went back to that and remembering that.
“It’s very easy to look back at the last nine or 10 games and say ‘This is Hull now’ but why does that have to be your destiny? Why can’t we look back at the good wins and the big games we played when we had everyone performing.
“That’s what we need to do and hopefully that starts Saturday.”
And McCann is not buying into the hype surrounding the Stoke game.
He said: “As I’ve said all season, every game is important. It’s not just Saturday or the week after. Every single one is important.
“It’s 10 games to go and my message to the players is how many we can win. I know people might say ‘Hold on, you’ve not won for 10 games’ but, as I’ve said, that’s gone and we’re focusing on the next game which is Stoke.
“It’ll be a tough game as it always is there but we feel confident that we can go and put a really good performance in.”