'We were the better team, the team in ascendancy' - Hull boss pinpoints difference needed after Portsmouth loss last month
Grant McCann insisted Hull were the better team as Pompey defeated them last month.
And the Tigers boss has called on his team to be more clinical attacking and ruthless in their defending to avoid a repeat result as the two high-fliers lock horns tomorrow.
Pompey went top of League One with a 2-0 success at the KCOM Stadium in December, and could reap a similar reward at Fratton Park tomorrow.
A win would be needed for that to happen along with Lincoln dropping points against lowly Northampton.
But McCann believes his team are ready for the test from Pompey.
He told www.hullcitytigers.com: ‘It’ll be a tough challenge.
‘You saw the game a few weeks ago at the KCOM, two good teams going head-to-head.
‘We felt we did OK in the game and were probably the better team, the team in the ascendancy.
‘We didn’t test them too much in the game – they didn’t test us either. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of the result on two set-plays, two own goals.
‘They’re in a great place, Portsmouth, in terms of the way they’re performing at this present time.
‘They haven’t conceded a goal for six games so it’s going to be a tough challenge for us, but we’ll look to meet it head on.
‘We’re in a good place ourselves, given the last five results since the turn of the year. The boys are looking forward to the challenge ahead.
‘From the turn of the year, we’ve had a tough run of fixtures – Charlton, Sunderland, Blackpool, Accrington, now Portsmouth.
‘We’ve started it quite well and we’ll be looking to build on that.’
When asked what is needed to avoid another defeat to Pompey, McCann added: ‘Be clinical, make sure we test their keeper more, make sure we defend set-plays better.
‘We scored a couple of own goals but I think we’ve addressed that.
‘We came up against a team in Accrington who are huge, with three or four players over 6ft 4in. The boys manfully defended their box excellently and threw their bodies on the line.
‘We’re going to need the same again at Fratton Park because Portsmouth are dangerous at things like that.
‘They’re an experienced team so it’s a big challenge, one we’re looking forward to.’
With three points covering the top five places and seven points the gap between first and eighth, it looks another League One promotion battle with a number of contenders.
McCann sees threat coming from almost half the teams in the league.
He added: ‘It’s a very difficult division.
‘There are seven or eight ex-Premier League teams. When you think of it like that, it tells you there are some big teams in this division.
‘It’s not easy. Every game has different challenges, every game is different.
‘There are probably 12 teams with a realistic chance of promotion – maybe more.
‘We’d love to go on a run and continue what we’ve done over the last five games and put ourselves in a more comfortable position. But we realise that’s not easy. It’s what everyone wants but it’s not easy.’
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