Hull City set to follow the process once more as they take on Jon Brady’s improved Cobblers


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Hull City entertain Jon Brady’s relegation-threatened Northampton Town on Easter Monday at the KCOM, hoping that they can put further daylight between themselves and their automatic promotion rivals.

With Peterborough United entertaining Sunderland, at least one of those sides will drop points and the onus will be on City to take full advantage of the situation at the Weston Homes Stadium.

The Tigers claimed a huge three points at Crewe Alexandra on Good Friday, as Mallik Wilks’ 21st goal of the season secured an important 2-1 win which maintained their arm’s length lead at the top of League One.

Whilst Hull weren’t quite at their attacking best against a well-tuned Crewe outfit, they had their defence and in particular goalkeeper, Matt Ingram to thank for some inspired performances. Ingram, who has had his critics this season, enjoyed a fine afternoon in between the sticks to more than play his part on an afternoon where the Tigers fought their way back from a goal deficit to claim a 2-1 win at Gresty Road.

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Ingram’s goalkeeping was assured as Crewe’s free-flowing football pegged City back throughout in an entertaining and end to end encounter. The goalkeeper’s handling was confident and relieved pressure at crucial times. A remarkable save from Hull City’s shot-stopper early on in the first-half kept the scores goalless.

Diving full stretch to keep out Owen Dale’s close-range header, Ingram produced the type of heroics that will be deemed all the more significant at the end of the season if City can secure promotion.

Speaking to local radio after the game, Ingram re-iterated the manager’s instructions that if they focus on the process of taking care of their own performances, the results will look after themselves.

“We go into each game with a game plan and everybody understands what that is and the job that they need to do as part of that plan”

“As long as everybody is aware of what their job is, there is no need for us to panic when we’re out there.”

“We need to make sure we get our own results first and foremost, though, and Northampton will be a really difficult game.”

As City couldn’t quite find their rhythm with the ball, defensively they showed resilience with both full-backs and new centre half pairing of Jacob Greaves and Alfie Jones digging in. Jones, in particular, epitomised the commitment to the cause with a fine goal-saving challenge with the game delicately poised at 1-1.

Josh Magennis came off the bench to show his importance to the side with an immediate riposte. Eight minutes after coming on, the Northern Ireland international had smashed home an equalizer from the penalty spot.

Despite missing chances to secure a win, Hull’s persistence to keep plugging away was rewarded as Wilks completed City’s turnaround with a 91st-minute winner. Just as it threatened to be City’s third consecutive draw and another one of those days where missed chances could prove costly, a hint of good fortune finally came Grant McCann’s way as Wilks’ speculative right-footed effort ricocheted into the net after hitting the far post.

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Not that any game should be taken as a given victory in League One, City will be huge favourites to pick up another three points against strugglers Northampton on Monday, but the Tigers boss was well aware of the very different test that Northampton will pose his side from their encounter earlier in the season.

“They’re completely different from when we played them at the start of the season.

“I watched them against Oxford a couple of weeks back, and I thought they were excellent. They again, different shape, a different style, different manager and a different philosophy.

They want to play football, they’re not dissimilar to what we’ve seen today in Crewe so again, I think it’s going to be another good football game.”

Cobblers caretaker manager Jon Brady knows that his side is still far from safe in their battle to avoid the drop to League Two. Brady has tightened things up at the back since replacing Keith Curle, with three clean sheets in their last six matches but their form on the road remains their biggest challenge to overcome with the Cobblers yet to register an away win this calendar year.

Speaking to the local press following Good Friday’s 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town, Brady was adamant about the task lying ahead in securing League One status.

“It’s a good three points but we’ve achieved nothing yet,”

“We’ve been in this position before in terms of our home form which is very good now but we need to back it up.

“We are getting closer to where we need to be but we need to keep ourselves on an even keel.”

There are no fresh injury concerns for City although skipper Richie Smallwood is back in light training. McCann will have a selection headache against the Cobblers with Magennis and Gavin Whyte recharged having returned from international duty.

Northampton will be without midfielders Jack Sowerby and Mickel Miller for the trip to the KCOM.

Whether Grant McCann is to be Hull City’s messiah remains to be seen and only until the Tigers are back in the Championship does it feel like he will be judged fairly by the City fanbase.

The City boss can only concentrate on the task ahead of him and with their closest rivals about to drop points, another win at the KCOM would be another step in the right direction.

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