Wolverhampton Wanderers’ boss Mick McCarthy will no doubt be reviewing the season so far as he recovers from ankle surgery this week on a prolonged problem aggravated by his days on the Compton training pitches preparing his troops for their assault on promotion to the Premier League.
The Wolves’ boss has had “clean up” surgery on a niggling problem and that has kept him away from the club’s training ground since Monday, but that won’t have stopped him looking back over the opening quarter of the season and preparing a mid-term report which might well award full marks for his side’s efforts in front of goal but which may well suggest that when it comes to trying not to concede in this interim period, his side could do better.
Wolves have kept just two clean sheets in this campaign so far but have managed to knock in enough goals at the other end to ensure their status at the top of the Coca Cola Championship ahead of the weekend visit of Burnley to Molineux.
After a fine win over Cardiff City at Ninian Park at the weekend, the defence has begun to impress McCarthy, particulary pleased with the introduction of Stephen Ward and Kevin Foley.
The full backs have made a major mark on the team’s recent success and earned credit from their manager at a time when Wolves have been able to capitalise on life at the top with nearst rivals and neighbours Birmingham City losing points to Coventry on Monday night.
McCarthy said: “We have two good Irish full-backs playing very, very well. Stephen Ward has been nothing short of superb at left-back and Kev Foley is the sort of player that can be taken for granted. He does his job, he does what it says on the tin. He does it with a mimimum of fuss and will give you a seven or eight out of ten performance every week and very rarely goes below that.
“He has been playing well and his two goal-line clearances at Watford recently were sensational.”
McCarthy believes his side have come a long way from the side who missed out on promotion over the last two seasons.
He said: “Last season the crowd got frustrated because we did not win games we should have won. But we now have the players to make the difference.
“These lads are grafters. People like Neil Collins and Stephen Ward have played whether they have been cheered, booed or whatever. They have got on with it and played. They deserve the plaudits. Let’s not make out that anybody is giving these players credit they don’t deserve. They have earned it.”