Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy is determined to remain patient with his high fliers, despite so many of last season's star turns currently being stuck in neutral.

Tuesday night's 1-0 home defeat to Hull City was Wolves' third reverse in six league matches this season and their third in all competitions at Molineux.

That has left McCarthy's men in 17th place. Not too much notice should be taken of league tables, but it does not compare well with this time 12 months ago when Wolves were in third place with 13 points from six matches.

This season they have managed two wins fewer, largely due to their defence simply not defending like Jody Craddock and Gary Breen did when they first paired up a year ago.

McCarthy has hopefully repaired the damage there by recalling Craddock from his scheduled three-month loan spell at Stoke City. But he knows he also needs more further up the park from his flair players.

Last spring, when Wolves went on their run of six straight wins to emerge a serious promotion candidates, the likes of Michael Kightly and Andy Keogh were performing well.

Now, having bought in two more strikers this summer, the Wolves front line, one purple patch of four goals in three games apart from Freddy Eastwood, is simply not firing.

Kightly still did enough on Tuesday night to be considered Wolves' best player. But Keogh, for all the promise offered by his tight dribbling skills and unselfish approach work, simply doesn't score enough goals. None now in six league matches this term, and an early second half substitution told its own story there.

"I made the change because I felt I had to," said McCarthy. "Andy did have two very good chances and, on another day, might have put them in. But the ball just didn't go in for him which sometimes happens with strikers. I just wanted to get strikers on who maybe had a goal in them.

"Freddy Eastwood didn't have many chances, but did produce one terrific effort from nothing. And when he hit the post it summed up our night in front of goal."

But, although aware that the extra expectation heaped on his players' shoulders after season's near miss has to be considered a factor in why so many are under performing now, McCarthy remains confident that hard work and application will help them turn it round.

"Maybe it was a bit too much to expect them to keep flying and just get better and better," said McCarthy. "We've hit a hiatus but we'll get them going.

"You do look back at where the likes of Michael Kightly have come from, at Grays not even 12 months ago, Stephen Ward from Bohemians, Andy Keogh from Scunthorpe.

"Even Freddy, who was at Southend, has maybe stepped up a level. And maybe they have hit a plateau a little bit.

"But they are all ambitious and desperate for themselves to do well and it's not a question of them not working hard enough or preparing properly. They certainly put a shift in.

"We've just got to try and get them to come again and back to last season when they were flying."