MICK McCarthy is delighted his tightly-knit side have vowed to win the Coca-Cola Championship title for crocked team-mate Michael Kightly but says he hopes the players are also equally focused on filling the injured player’s boots.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers’ boss was devastated in midweek to lose his wing-wizard Kightly with a broken metatarsal following a behind-closed doors friendly at the club’s Compton training ground.
But he says, while his thoughts are with the 23-year-old, he has to concentrate now on finding a suitable replacement for the last six games of the season starting with Monday’s top-of-the-table clash with Birmingham at St Andrew’s.
McCarthy said: “Players wanting to win it for “Kights” has to be the attitude. There is a great spirit amongst the lads and if that is what they are saying, then ‘wonderful.’
“But you just have to go on and play. The players could be down thinking Kights is not fit but I hope someone is thinking ‘Happy days! Kights isn’t fit and I want to play’.
“That is the attitude – I don’t mean to sound callous.”
McCarthy admits losing such a vital player is a blow but says it is carry on regardless.
“I would love Kights to be part of the promotion team and can understand players want to win it for him but I am sure they also want to win it for themselves and have done all season long,” the manager explained.
“You have to be selfish to a point. If winning it for Kights adds a bit of incentive against Birmingham – fabulous.
“But Matt Jarvis should be fit, Marlon Harewood can play there, Andy Keogh, Dave Edwards and Kyel Reid too.
“Someone has a chance and they can either dwell on the fact that Kights is out or accept it has happened and carry on.
“We can do nothing about it now. Someone else will now get a chance and we have plenty of players who can play in that position. We have to crack on.”
McCarthy revealed Kightly would have missed England under-21s’ participation in the European under-21 Championship Finals in Malmo, Sweden, in June even without his broken toe.
“He was out of that anyway because he needs something done in the summer – a minor procedure on his hip.
“If there are any positives out of it, it is that this op will now be brought forward and once done, he should be fine,” the Wolves boss explained.