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Hunt ready to renew Doyle double act
Wolves new boy Stephen Hunt is keen to replicate the fearsome partnership he formed with Kevin Doyle during their days at Reading. Hunt finally signed on the dotted line at Molineux back in mid-June, ending Mick McCarthy's long-running pursuit of the Republic of the Ireland winger who penned a three-year deal when he joined from Hull for an undisclosed fee. He reunites with former Royals team-mates Doyle and Marcus Hahnemann, the former of whom bagged nine goals last season to help Wolves defy their doubters and finish 15th in the Premier League. Hunt and Doyle were an intimidating double act during their time in the blue and white hoops of Reading, terrorising defences between 2005 and 2009, most notably in 2006/07 as the Berkshire club finished eighth in the top flight. And after one season apart the Irish duo are back together and ready to do the same once again, although Hunt does not mind who reaps the benefits of his ability. He said: "With Doyler, if he gets the right service then he'll get in double figures. "He's strong, he was good last season up on his own when Wolves went 4-5-1 but he needs the service as well and hopefully we can give it to him, along with a few others - (Steven) Fletcher, Andy Keogh and Sylvan (Ebanks-Blake). "You've got to get the ball in the box and in the right areas, he's got to make the right runs and the players in midfield have got to find the strikers, that's our job. "(Michael) Kightly's got to get back fit as well, we've got a strong squad and I look forward to working with them." He added: "To be fair to the players that are playing here, they will get better this year in terms of their experience from last year. "But we need to add to that as well and hopefully I can do my bit." The 28-year-old will miss the start of the new season due to a foot injury sustained against Wolves back in late January which eventually forced him to miss the climax of Hull's fateful campaign. Their relegation capped a hat-trick of successive disappointing seasons for Hunt who had previously experienced the drop with Reading followed by play-off semi-final despair. And although he does not mind being involved in an anticipated relegation scramble again this time around, he is banking on a far happier ending come May. "As long as we're on the right end of it, I think you don't mind," he said. "For the first couple of years just get yourself safe and see how you go and try and get there as quick as possible. "It's a difficult league and there's two or three big clubs coming up as well. "Blackpool have got the momentum, they're absolutely buzzing and it's good for a club like that to get promoted because it shows it can go against the odds sometimes. "It will be a good season ahead." The Portlaoise-born wide man was just 14 years of age when McCarthy was appointed Republic of Ireland boss back in 1996 and 20 when he watched on as the Yorkshireman led the nation to the second round of the 2002 World Cup. And he is looking forward to working under him at Molineux. "I was never in contention to play under Mick for Ireland," added Hunt. "But growing up, in the World Cups and stuff like that, we used to go and watch the matches and have a lot of passion for him, obviously the childhood memories are good. "One day he might even go back and manage Ireland, I might be wrong but we'll see."
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