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McCann's Stoke Preview

15 January 2022

Grant McCann is keen to get back on the winning trail when his side host Stoke City.

Since recording four straight wins in November, the Tigers have drawn two and lost two of the last four league games.

Ahead of a demanding week which sees McCann’s men host third-placed Blackburn Rovers and visit table-topping AFC Bournemouth, the boss says his players are looking forward to testing themselves.

“I think we’ve been unfortunate in some of those games (we haven’t won),” said McCann.

“Yes, we’ve lost the last couple of games but particularly in the two games we drew, we were very unfortunate.

“We just want to try and get back on the winning trail.

“We’ve got a tough week coming up – three games in a week and two of them against (teams in) the top three.

“It’s an exciting week, one we’re looking forward to, one we want to go and test ourselves against these three teams in the top 10 in the division.

“There’s nine points at stake, let’s see how many we can get.”

Michael O’Neill’s play-off pushing Potters are first up on Sunday lunchtime and despite only winning one in six, remain in eighth place with games in hand. 

“They’re a good team,” said McCann. “Michael has done an excellent job with what he’s done since he’s been there, particularly this year, he started really well.

“Injuries have played a key role in terms of the one win in six. They’ve had a lot of players missing – people like (Mario) Vrancic, (Nick) Powell, (Steven) Fletcher. You go through the team and a lot of people are missing.

“Every game is an opportunity to go and get three points, and this is another one.

“We want to make sure we understand what they’re about – which the players will. We’ll go into the game on the front foot and see if we can get the three points.”

Potters boss O’Neill will be missing from the away dugout after testing positive for Covid-19, and McCann has wished his former Northern Ireland manager well.

“I would like to pass my best wishes onto Michael,” McCann said. “I hope he gets well soon. I’ve been there myself and it’s not nice. I pass my best wishes onto him.”

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