Grant McCann believes Wigan Athletic will eventually live to regret their decision to sell Leonardo Da Silva Lopes to Hull City, insisting the youngster is “getting better and stronger every day.”

Lopes comes up against his former employers today for the first time since he was allowed to join the Tigers on deadline day last month.

The 20-year-old has already made more appearances for City than he did in a whole year with the Latics, where he was given just 20 minutes of Championship action under Paul Cook.

A place in City’s starting XI is by no means guaranteed for this reunion at the KCOM Stadium but Lopes has been backed to respond to overcome his Wigan disappointment in time.

“You need to ask Paul Cook for the reason why it didn’t work out there. That’s not for me to say,” said McCann.

New Hull City signing Leonardo Da Silva Lopes
New Hull City signing Leonardo Da Silva Lopes

“But we’re pleased that we’ve got him here because I know how much progression there is in him to come.

 

“He’s only a 20-year-old boy and he’s played well over 100 games in the Football League.

“He’s got so much more to offer. He’s getting better and stronger every day.

“I’ve said it before that he’s improved no end since I last worked with him at Peterborough.

“That’s a credit to what they’ve done with him at Wigan but I think there’s so much more improvement to come in him.”

Lopes was considered to be one of the EFL’s brightest talents when signed by Wigan from Peterborough in a £1.5m deal last summer only for him to be loaned out to League One Gillingham for the second half of the season.

Leonardo Da Silva Lopes in action for Hull City against Tranmere Rovers

The midfielder’s subsequent move to City will provide him with motivation up against the Latics but he will not be the only one facing his former club.

Callum Elder, who is in line to make his debut for the Tigers today, enjoyed the most successful loan spell of his career with the Latics when making 27 appearances in their League One title-winning season under Cook.

 

McCann added: “I haven’t really spoken to Leo about it. It’s just another game. I don’t want to put too much pressure on to him or Callum Elder, who was part of the Wigan team that got promoted.

“They’ll both be looking forward to the game. Maybe in the back of their minds they’ll be thinking it’ll be nice to play against my old team and play well.  For us it’s another game we want to try and win.”

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