|Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 v 2 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 29th December 2012 Kick-off 15:00
McCarthy Taking Usual Approach at Old Club Wolves
Friday, 28th Dec 2012 14:50
Manager Mick McCarthy says he’s going into Saturday’s game against his old club Wolves with the same approach he takes anywhere. The Midlanders sacked McCarthy after just under six years in charge at Molineux in February.
The Town boss said: “It’ll be no different to going anywhere else, we’ll go and try and win the game, try and be on the front foot, get in their faces and attack Wolves on their own patch.
“That’s how we approach games and it won’t be any different just because I was there for so many years. We’ll be on the attack and trying to win the game.”
He says he’s looking forward to the game against a Wolves side which lost 3-0 at home to Peterborough on Wednesday. But McCarthy, who has never met his successor Ståle Solbakken, although his assistant Terry Connor briefly worked under the Norwegian at the start of the season, isn’t taking too much from that result: “There might be someone asking Ståle Solbakken ‘Would you like to be playing Ipswich on the back of going away and beating Charlton?’.
“I can’t care less about their result and how they played. I understand where you’re going, there could be a bit of a backlash from it, the players know me at Wolves, that team.
“They’ll know full well what to expect from me and my team, as I do from quite a number of them. I think they’ll be wanting to impress and show me the reasons why I signed them and they’ll want to repair their result from Boxing Day as well.”
McCarthy continues to impress the importance of Town not running before they can walk and the ease with which sides can slip back into the danger zone, however, he says the positive results are building self-belief: “Every time you get a result it helps confidence and helps you prepare in a good frame of mind for the next game.
“If you get beaten, you come in feeling a little bit low, of course you do. The place is all right, it’s OK, there’s confidence running through it.”
The Town boss was set to weigh up whether to make any changes to his starting XI after training today with the holiday fixtures coming thick and fast. Aside from long-time absentee Paul Taylor – who is expected to be out for the season having undergone foot surgery – everyone is fit.
Stephen Henderson will keep his place in goal with Aaron Cresswell and Bradley Orr the full-backs. Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers will be at the centre of the defence with Danny Higginbotham – who is set to extend his loan until the end of the season – on the bench.
In midfield, McCarthy could look to switch Andy Drury for either Nigel Reo-Coker or Luke Hyam, the former having replaced the ex-Luton man just after the hour mark at Charlton on Wednesday.
Lee Martin and skipper Carlos Edwards are likely to keep their places in the wide roles with the DJ Campbell-Daryl Murphy strike partnership which yielded both goals at the Valley also continuing.
Having been beaten so heavily at home by Peterborough on Wednesday, Wolves boss Ståle Solbakken is looking for a response from his side: “We all have work to do before Saturday.
“In the circumstances we are now we have to bounce back straight away and show we can play good football in front of our own crowd.
“We have to put in a much better performance than we did [on Wednesday] because the fans deserve better and the players have shown they are much better. We have to pick a solid team so that if we don’t score we still keep a clean sheet at home.
“We can’t let in such easy goals. The first was cheap and the second even cheaper – he was able to stand there for ages to stand and aim.
“We have been in this situation before and have come back but we are playing catch-up and that can be hard mentally. We have to be physically and mentally ready.”
Regarding McCarthy’s return, he added: “If there is any extra pressure on anyone with Mick coming back, it must be on the manager who has replaced him.
"He did very well for a long period of time here and hopefully he will be given a good welcome by the spectators.”
The sides are evenly matches over the years, Town winning 27 times (26 in the league), Wolves 27 times (24) and with 20 games (17) ending in draws.
In September at Portman Road, Town missed a hatful of chances as Wolves left with a 2-0 victory. A second-half own goal by Tommy Smith then a long distance strike from sub Tongo Doumbia were enough to take the points with the Blues profligate in front of goal throughout. The last league meeting at Molineux came in the closing weeks of Jim Magilton’s time as Town manager in March 2009 and ended 0-0.
Both sides had chances with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hitting the bar for the home side, who were top of the Championship and on their way to promotion at the time, while Jon Stead missed a golden opportunity late on for the Blues.
Town skipper Carlos Edwards is the only player on either side to have represented tonight’s opposition, making five starts and one sub appearance while on loan at Molineux in 2008, during Mick McCarthy's time as boss.
Blues manager McCarthy was the Wolves boss between July 2006 and February of this year. His current Town assistant Terry Connor fulfilled a similar role during McCarthy’s time at Molineux – having joined the club in 1999 under John Ward’s management - before taking over as manager after McCarthy’s departure in February.
After new boss Solbakken’s appointment in the summer, he returned to his position as assistant before leaving four games into the season.
Blues coach Mark Kennedy wore the old gold from 2001 until 2006, while new Town scouts Dave Bowman and Ian Evans were both at Molineux until leaving to join McCarthy at Portman Road last month.
Saturday’s referee is Darren Drysdale from Lincolnshire, who has shown 62 yellow cards and three red in 19 games so far this season. Drysdale’s most recent Town match was the 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn on the opening weekend of the Championship campaign in which he booked Massimo Luongo and two visiting players.
Squad from: Henderson, Loach, Lee-Barrett, Orr, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Chambers, Smith, Higginbotham, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Reo-Coker, Edwards, Carson, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy, Campbell, Chopra, Scotland.
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