Nigel Adkins has warned it will take time before his revamped Hull City squad reaches its full potential as a new Championship campaign continues away to Sheffield Wednesday today.
City’s new-look side, including five debutants, was unable to get the season off to a positive start on Monday night when falling to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
A catalogue of defensive errors at the KCOM Stadium carried a high price for the Tigers and ensured Adkins’ men travel to Hillsborough this afternoon still searching for their first points.
“Like everything you need time,” said Adkins. “I’d like to think with us engaging with supporters that they can see we’re all working hard and wanting to do well for Hull City.
“We genuinely do. The players care about what they do. You could see that in their reaction to losing the game the other night.
“It hurts them when they make a mistake because they want to do well. It’s a new team and you need a little bit of time sometimes. Once you get that momentum going and that roll, it can take you a long way.”
Adkins has called this season a fresh start for City following a summer of huge upheaval. A string of high-profile names moved on at the end of last season, leaving behind a starting XI on Monday where only Fraizer Campbell had started more than 50 league games for the club.
David Marshall, Stephen Kingsley, Evandro and Dan Batty have all been given the chance to cement places after playing very little first team football last term, with only Campbell, Markus Henriksen and Jarrod Bowen in Monday’s line-up able to call themselves regulars in 2017-18.
“I’ve looked at all the players we’ve got and looked at them for the last five years and the number of 90 minute games they’ve played. It’s not many,” added Adkins.
“I want players who are able to play 40 games a season consistently. This is the group I’ve inherited and these are the players I’ve brought in but we’ve got a good culture at the club. They work hard and they will improve. There’s a spirit and it’s all about the team.”
This afternoon’s trip to Hillsborough will be the first of five league and cup games inside 15 days for City, with trips to Sheffield United in the League Cup and Rotherham United in the Championship sandwiching next weekend’s home game with Blackburn.
Adkins is prepared to stay patient as his players gel but heads to Sheffield Wednesday knowing points remain the most important thing to find.
“I’m not naive enough to think football isn’t about results but I keep going back to how you get them,” he said.
“The other night we could have won that game 1-0 if we hadn’t have made those mistakes. But we did so we didn’t.
“We’re going to Hillsborough in a positive frame of mind, looking to get three points. That’ll be the case in every single game we play.”