Grant McCann has given his full support to stand-in skipper Jackson Irvine as Hull City travel to Preston North End bidding to end a run of seven Championship games without a victory.
Irvine has taken on captaincy duties in the wake of Eric Lichaj suffering ankle ligament damage away to Reading earlier this month, leading out the Tigers in the games against Blackburn and Swansea.
No City current player has played more games for the club than the Australian international but of late he has attracted the ire of some supporters in a season that has seen him find the net just once in the last 31 games.
Irvine’s place in midfield will be under greater threat with the return to fitness of Kevin Stewart and Jon Toral at Deepdale but McCann says his vice-captain’s contributions remain vital.
“If I’m going to be honest Jackson started the season brilliantly, maybe had a little dip but he’s coming back again,” said McCann.
“He’s been available for every game, he trains to a high standard every single day, he travels to Australia and back and is still ready to play in the next game.
“His attitude and commitment to this football club is second to none.
“Jackson will probably tell you himself that he’d want more goals. This season he’s only got a couple and for someone of his ability he could’ve had more.
“We’re working hard with him. If you look at the last few games, he could have had two at Reading, he had another few opportunities in the game after that.
“Jackson is a player we think highly of and in terms of what he does around the training ground he’s a livewire. He demands standards every single day. He’s great to work with.”
Lichaj’s likely absence until at least April sees City without their club captain but McCann will have no hesitation in continuing to hand the armband to Irvine.
“He’s not afraid to voice an opinion and I like that,” said City’s head coach, who will hope to see his side make it a league double over Preston this afternoon.
“We don’t people just nodding their heads all the time. We want people to have a say and demand standards on the training ground. He does that.
“The way he trains every single day is testament to him. I’m very pleased with him.”