Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy has laughed off reports linking his star goalkeeper, Matt Murray with Aston Villa.

At a time when injury-hit Villa are in urgent need of a temporary stand-in for Thomas Sorensen and Stuart Taylor, manager Martin O'Neill is being linked with a variety of names.

But, if Villa were ever to have had a chance of landing the in-form Murray, they have certainly missed the boat now, less than a week after Murray committed his future to Molineux on a new four-and-a-half year contract.

It was the presence of former Villa goalkeeping coach Eric Steele at a Wolves game that helped prompt the suggestion that Murray might make the short move down the M6.

But, by putting their star player on a new contract, Wolves have guaranteed themselves a huge fee from any club desperate enough to want him. And, in any case, McCarthy suggested that Steele's presence at Molineux was more likely to be related to Murray's long-term chances of an England international call.

"I know Eric Steele has been looking at him," said McCarthy. "But not for Aston Villa, because he's not there any more. He's probably been looking at him on behalf of the FA, if anything and, if you look at all the English goalkeepers, why wouldn't he?

"[England coach] Steve McClaren will know about him. It's what you do when you're an international manager and it'll be no surprise to Steve McClaren that Matt Murray is playing as well as he is, especially when you consider how quickly somebody can come to the fore in this game.

"Take Kevin Doyle at Reading. Two years ago, he was at Cork and he's now one of the top scorers in the Premiership."

While McCarthy can carry on enjoying the benefits of Murray, the Wolves manager has now faced up to the chance that Carl Cort — a #1million pre-season target for Crystal Palace — may have kicked his last ball for the club.

McCarthy has admitted that Cort's chances of playing again this season are slim following a cartilage operation and, with the player's contract due to expire in June, there are clearly questions to be asked ahead on the player's future. "Corty's going to be out for a good while," said McCarthy.

"It takes a good while to come back from the operation, maybe six months, maybe four, but even that would take us into March with not much time left.

"It leaves him coming to the end of his contract out of contract, which is unfortunate but that's not an issue. He's got to get himself fit and we'll take it from there. Let's hope he comes back fit and we'll see what happens, as he did well when he came in the other week and he's the type of players I really like to have, to hold the ball up."