Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy predicts it will be the Derby side which has reached a glittering League Cup semi-final with Manchester United which lines up at Molineux tonight.
McCarthy has done his homework on Paul Jewell’s side ahead of tonight’s Coca-Cola Championship encounter and watched the Rams cruise to a 1-0 win over Premier League tough-boys Stoke City vto earn their place in the last four against Messers Rooney, Ronaldo and Co.
That was enough to enforce the view with the Wolves manager Derby prefer to play away – making them a real threat to a Wanderers’ side eager to get back to winning ways.
A draw with Birmingham City and defeat to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday has seen Wolves’ six-point margin at the top slashed to three.
And with Reading and Burnley picking up points, Wolves know they must get back to winning ways and fast.
McCarthy said: “Derby will provide us with a typical Championship game. I don’t think they will do anything other than play 4-4-2. I watched them at Stoke last week and they were okay away from home. I saw them go into the League Cup semi-final and then get beaten at home on Saturday so it might suit them to come to our place. Paul will have his side well organised and well drilled and they will work hard as his teams always do.
“They are a good Championship team with good players. They have a strike force which boasts Varney, Hulse and Ellington and they are all good players.”
McCarthy said he did not subrscribe to the theory having two home games in succession – Wolves play Barnsley at Molinueux on Saturday – meant this was a good week.
He said: Sometimes successive home games can be a problem when you have just lost one away. We will only do well if we play well in the game and do the things we are good at. If we play our game well there is an opportunity for three points.”
McCarthy refused to accept the doubters who fear defeat at QPR at the weekend could be a decisive blow for the Championship leaders.
He said: “ We lost to QPR but we have been and beaten Cardiff and Ipswich and others along the way. It certainly isn’t the end of the world. It feels like it when you get beaten but I am pains to point out it is not the end of the world.
“We don’t need reminding we are still three points clear. I don’t need to console players. If us as a group of sportsmen need picking up after one defeat then we are in the wrong game. There is no need to go round with a few soft words. We simply have to get back at it at home.”