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Preview: Wolves v Sunderland
06 May 2010 - 13:48:50
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy comes up against one of his former sides in Sunderland at Molineux on the final day of the season.
The blunt Yorkshireman spent three years on Wearside after replacing Howard Wilkinson as manager in March 2003.
He could not stop the club being relegated from the Premier League that season but, after losing in the Championship play-offs the following year, he guided the Black Cats back to English football's top-flight in the 2004/05 campaign as champions.
McCarthy was axed in March 2006 when his Sunderland side were cast adrift at the foot of the table, but he appears to have learned from his mistakes in the north-east and has kept Wolves out of the bottom three in their first season in the Premier League since the 2003/04 campaign.
They can now start preparing for a second successive season in English football's top-flight for the first time in almost 30 years.
Both clubs have endured sticky patches this term but a late flourish has seen Sunderland move into mid-table while victories in March against Burnley and West Ham United lifted Wolves out of trouble.
Steve Bruce will be without David Meyler, John Mensah (both knee), George McCartney and Andy Reid (both hamstring) for Sunday's game while only Stephen Ward (knee), Matt Jarvis (thigh) and Michael Kightly (ankle) are missing for Wolves.
However, Bruce and McCarthy are expected to make sweeping changes to their starting elevens for what is essentially a meaningless fixture.
Sunderland have a solid record against Wolves having won 15 and drawn 14 of their 56 fixtures at Molineux and the last time the two sides met in the Midlands, in a 2006/07 Championship fixture, the match ended 1-1.
Earlier this term at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland beat Wolves 5-2 with Kenwyne Jones scoring twice and Darren Bent also netting one of the 24 goals he has scored this season.