Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Bromwich Albion : Match Preview
08 May 2011 11:44
Relegation not on McCarthy`s agenda Mick McCarthy is refusing to contemplate the prospect of Wolves being relegated from the Barclays Premier League despite being in the bottom three with just three games remaining. Wolves have collected only two points from five games since star striker Kevin Doyle was sidelined with a knee ligament injury. They now face a local derby against West Brom at Molineux on Sunday knowing anything less than a win will send them nearer to the relegation trapdoor.
But McCarthy is determined to remain upbeat. He said: "We're not getting relegated. We're not talking about it at all. We haven't given it a thought. "If we start thinking about that, that's a sure recipe for disaster. "I think you'll find Steve Morgan (club owner) won't discuss it. "I don't know why other people do it - whether it's shock or to say something that might get a reaction. "We're not having those discussions because we're not considering it." McCarthy knows Wolves have to be motivated but also remain calm in the derby cauldron against Roy Hodgson's side. He said: "It's an emotional time for everyone coming towards the end of the season, and in the position we're in, we need the points. "There has to be an element of both trying to remove the hype and using it. "We need to be highly motivated in the way we play, we need to be aggressive in how we play - and I mean passing the ball aggressively, running aggressively and competing aggressively. "We have to be tough, resolute and determined and yet we've got to be cool and calm when the time comes. "It's about picking and choosing when to adopt which characteristics, and that's the difficulty. "If you're all aggressive and the blood is flowing around the brain when you've got to be cool and calm and collected to score, you won't score. "Equally if you go into a 50-50 challenge cool, calm and collected, you'll get smashed." Striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is expected to be fit after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury after returning to training. But Doyle will not be risked with McCarthy hoping he will be available after his knee injury for the final two games.
Winger Michael Kightly is a major doubt with a groin problem while midfielder Dave Edwards will not be considered after having an injection to relieve his back problem. Baggies boss Hodgson has praised his players for showing Manchester United-type form to secure their Premier League status for another campaign. Albion were on a downward spiral and heading back towards the Championship when Hodgson replaced Roberto Di Matteo in early February. A sequence of 16 points from nine matches under the former Liverpool boss had ensured top flight survival with still three matches remaining - including Sunday's derby at Wolves.
But Hodgson prefers for his players to receive the plaudits rather than himself. Hodgson said: "We've suffered only one defeat in nine games and I think we've taken an average of virtually two points per game. "For me, that is really an incredible performance. Only Manchester United at the moment have an average of something like two points per game. "For us to achieve that in the last nine matches speaks volumes for the players. "Any praise or plaudits that come their way, they've more than deserved." Albion have also emulated the never-say-die approach to games of the Red Devils in becoming the comeback kings of the Premier League this season. They have collected 26 points this season from matches where they have been in arrears. Hodgson said: "Good teams do that. If you've got a good team of players who believe in themselves, who believe in what they are doing, they don't give up. "It's a weak team that goes a goal behind and suddenly loses discipline, loses its shape and loses its faith and belief. "There are not many weak teams in the Premier League and we can certainly point to many of our results to prove that we aren't. "You don't need to be Roy Hodgson or Sir Alex Ferguson or any other manager at this level to tell the players never to give up. "Your job is to find players you recruit to your club who are capable of doing it. "The message is simple. Having the players with the guys and the character and the guts to do it, that's another matter altogether." Albion will be without midfielder Paul Scharner. The former Wigan player will have to serve a one match ban for his sending-off against Aston Villa last weekend. Defender Steven Reid and skipper Chris Brunt are again major doubts with calf and hamstring problems respectively.