Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 8°C

Search
Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

‘Even the best teams get beaten sometimes’ – McCarthy relishing return to big spending Wolves

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 December 2017

Portuguese forward Diogo Jota, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has been Wolves' star man. Photo: PA

Portuguese forward Diogo Jota, on loan from Atletico Madrid, has been Wolves' star man. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Ipswich Town are at Championship league-leaders Wolves tomorrow and then host QPR on Boxing Day. STUART WATSON previews the festive action.

Into the Wolves’ den

Wolves were in League One in 2013/14 and have finished 7th, 14th and 15th in the Championship since then.

A takeover by Chinese investment group Fosun International has provided a huge injection of funds though and now they find themselves four points clear at the top.

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news

Nuno Espirito Santo replaced Paul Lambert as Wolves boss back in the summer. Photo: PANuno Espirito Santo replaced Paul Lambert as Wolves boss back in the summer. Photo: PA

There is a strong Portuguese influence behind the revolution at Molineux, with head coach Nuno Espirito Santo – previously in charge of Valencia and Porto – and ‘super agent’ Jorge Mendes (looks after Cristiano Ronaldo) having overseen some multi-million pounds deals for several of their countrymen.

Ruben Neves (£15.8m, Porto, midfielder), Helder Costa (£13m, Benfica, winger), Ivan Cavaleiro (£7m, Monaco, midfielder), and Diogo Jota (Atletico Madrid, loan, attacker), have been joined by Brazilian striker Leo Bonatini (Al-Hilal, loan) and Moroccan midfielder Romain Saiss (£3m, Angers).

They’ve won seven of their last eight games and dropped just seven points at home all season.

Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor celebrate a 2-0 win for Ipswich Town on their first return to Molineux in December 2012. Photo: PagepixMick McCarthy and Terry Connor celebrate a 2-0 win for Ipswich Town on their first return to Molineux in December 2012. Photo: Pagepix

• ‘Unless we sold anybody, I doubt we’ll buy anyone’ – McCarthy on Town’s January transfer plans

Mick’s old stomping ground

Town boss Mick McCarthy spent almost six years in charge of Wolves, winning the Championship title, twice keeping them up before controversially being sacked. He has repeatedly insisted he would have kept the West Midlands club up had they not pulled the trigger and put assistant Terry Connor in charge of the final 13 games of 2011/12.

Ian Holloway's QPR visit Portman Road on Boxing Day. Photo: PAIan Holloway's QPR visit Portman Road on Boxing Day. Photo: PA

You could see how much it meant to McCarthy and Connor when they went back to Molineux and masterminded a 2-0 win weeks after being appointed at Town in December 2012.

It was the start of a seven-game unbeaten streak against Wolves comprising of two wins followed by five successive draws. Town haven’t lost at Molineux since August 2006.

• Town extend Jonas Knudsen’s contract

“There are a few clubs I’ve left that seem to have changed. I keep looking at Manchester City and wondering if I played there – I think I did!” joked McCarthy.

“I wasn’t bitter when I left and I’m still not now. I’m not envious of anybody, I just keep enjoying what I’m doing.

“They’ve spent money, but it looks to me like money well spent. Despite all the flair football they have been stoic and won 1-0 when needed.

“They are the best team in the league, I think, but even the best team in the league get beaten sometimes.”

• Former Town skipper signs for Woodbridge Town

Hot-shots

The last three meetings between these two sides have ended goalless, though surely that won’t be the case tomorrow.

Wolves are the division’s leading scorers with 42 goals to their name, 28 of them coming on home turf. Town are the division’s second leading scorers with 37 goals scored, 15 of them coming on their travels.

“We won’t go and park the bus. I haven’t tried to park the bus anywhere,” said McCarthy. “We’ve lost away because of lapses in concentration.”

• ‘I don’t ask stupid questions’ – McCarthy has not spoken to Everton about Connolly

Injuries

McCarthy says he had just 15 fit and available players involved in training on Wednesday.

Cole Skuse (foot) was forced off at half-time in last weekend’s 2-0 home win against Reading and won’t be risked at Molineux.

Fellow midfielders Tom Adeyemi (hamstring), Luke Hyam (knee), Tristan Nydam (hip) and Flynn Downes (calf) are also out – though should all be back in the new year – while Emyr Huws and Andre Dozzell (both knee) have been ruled out for the season.

• Gerken injury could force McCarthy into transfer market

Transfer-listed Kevin Bru, the man likely to replace Skuse alongside Callum Connolly tomorrow, has also missed some training this week due to a bang to the ribs.

Meanwhile, young Michael Crowe will continue to deputise for injured back-up keeper Dean Gerken (hip) on the bench.

Boxing Day

Town’s record on Boxing Day under McCarthy’s management is pretty good.

Prior to last year’s 2-0 battering by Fulham at Portman Road, there were wins against QPR (2-1, home), Brentford (4-2, away), Doncaster (3-0, away), Charlton (2-1, away).

• ‘We will be bidding’ – Rotherham haven’t given up on keeping Kieffer Moore

QPR are currently 18th in the table, with Ian Holloway’s men finally record their first away win of the season last weekend (2-1 at Birmingham). That result ended a dismal run which saw them pick up just one point from a possible 18.

Tomorrow, the West London side host a high-flying Bristol City outfit on cloud nine following their Carabao Cup quarter-final win against Manchester United on Wednesday night.

• Four festive crackers in just 11 days... so how will the Blues get on?

Town lost 2-1 at Loftus Road in the reverse fixture back on September 9, Bersant Celina’s superb late consolation strike coming after goals from Jamie Mackie and Luke Freeman.

A man who attempted to arrange to have sex with a child was jailed this week as well as a burglar and a London drug dealer. Take a look at how long they spend behind bars.

A man and a woman have been arrested following an altercation in the car park of the Golden Hind pub in Ipswich.

Black bin bags full of rubbish were left strewn across a part of the Suffolk countryside.

A taxi, coach and mini-bus hire company in Ipswich has stopped trading, leaving a group of customers with a prior booking waiting for a minibus that never turned up.

A Kesgrave woman wants to spread the word about a Halloween project which keeps children with food allergies safe.

Police cuts have been blamed for a slump in crimes prosecuted at the crown court in Suffolk.

Thick fog across the East of England overnight could cause travel disruption during the weekend, weather forecasters have warned.

Eight students at the Lindbergh Campus in Ipswich, which provides alternative education as part of the Raedwald Trust, have had their stories published in an international book as part of a short story competition.

From a perfect Ofsted report to a Suffolk teenager on the X-factor with Robbie Williams - make sure you are up-to-date with all of our stories.

A county council run care service has been described as ‘exceptional’ following their Outstanding care quality rating.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24