A month ago, when Mick McCarthy delved into the unfamiliar realms of non-League football for his latest signing, some Wolverhampton Wanderers fans were saying: 'Are you taking the Michael?'

But, such has been the form of young winger Michael Kightly since his arrival from Grays Athletic, initially on loan before completing his move to Molineux next week, that McCarthy is now worried about the hole he will leave when he is suspended on Saturday.

Kightly will miss a quick return to his native county OF Essex to play Colchester United as a result of his first booking for Wolves in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Norwich City.

That was his fifth of the season, having previously picked up four for Grays and, in the wake of two sparkling performances over Christ-mas, capped by Kightly's second goal in three games in the 2-0 win at Derby on Boxing Day, McCarthy has every reason to look a trifle smug.

"I'm sure a few questioned my judgement about bringing in this lad in from Grays," said the Wolves boss. "But now, just a few weeks on, I'm being asked how much we're going to miss him when he's suspended and that says it all.

"He was released from Southend as a lad and that can be difficult to overcome. My brother was released from Barnsley and I saw how it devastated him.

"But now Michael's got a chance again and I'm delighted he's taking that opportunity so well."

McCarthy is just as pleased at the contribution of his other late-autumn loan signing, Michael McIndoe.

At a time when his strikers have been firing blanks, their attacking menace was what encouraged him to pick both of them at Pride Park in a three-man forward line flanking striker Leon Clarke.

His team responded with their most eye-catching win of the season, their third straight away victory and McCarthy hopes they can maintain their form minus Kightly at Layer Road.

"The pair of them were fantastic against Norwich, "said McCarthy. "They played at such a pace and were still getting crosses in the box right at the very end. We just needed that bit of devilment in the box to match.

"Then at Derby, in a 4-3-3, the wide lads again made a good contribution in terms of their link-up play. They were popping up all over the place.

"It was arguably the best performance of the season but we've got to go to Colchester now and get a result. If we get a slapping there, we won't be thinking of this."

As to who will replace Kightly, Jay Bothroyd's thigh strain will again keep him out.

Captain Jody Craddock, Saturday's last-minute hero, has an Achilles strain that threatens to sideline him for a second successive game but McCarthy was pleased with the contribution of Sunderland loan man Neill Collins on his full debut at Pride Park. After at last getting his chance, Collins may be allowed to continue alongside Gary Breen.

"With Neill Collins playing as well as he did, the last thing I need to do is rush Jody back and risk a problem," added McCarthy.