Thursday 23 March 2017

McCarthy hails impact of Wolves' debutant duo

WOLVES 2
STOKE CITY 1

Andy Hampson

Record signing Kenwyne Jones will have a scan today after limping out of his second Stoke debut at Molineux.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker, bought for £8m from Sunderland last week, left the ground on crutches after suffering an ankle injury.

The 25-year-old almost made an explosive start to his second spell with the club, hitting the bar after three minutes, but he then fell awkwardly after a Jody Craddock challenge 10 minutes later.

Manager Tony Pulis felt his departure had a big effect on his team, who conceded twice in quick succession before half-time to David Jones and Steven Fletcher.

"We had a really good start and then Kenwyne went off and it just took the wind out of our sails," he said. "We dropped off so deep, it was embarrassing.

"We made a game of it second half but that 20-minute period after he went off, we just dropped off. We allowed Wolves to play where they wanted to at the tempo they wanted to.We just stood off them."

Stoke replied with an Abdoulaye Faye header after 55 minutes but Wolves created the better chances throughout and deserved victory.

Rejuvenate

Manager Mick McCarthy has attempted to rejuvenate his side for their second season back in the top division by bringing in four new players.

Fletcher's goal gave an instant return on the reported £6.5m spent to recruit him while Jelle van Damme also shone on his debut. Their other high-profile new signing, Stephen Hunt, did not play due to injury.

McCarthy said: "I'm very pleased with them both, I thought the two lads were great."

McCarthy was pleased with a victory at the end of a week marred by international call-ups.

"We worked for six weeks and then we lost 10 of them, so it was a bit of a silly week," he said.

"I was told it was 11 years since we had a win on the first day of the season. I wasn't going to accept the blame for the seven prior to me coming but I'll take the previous four, so I'm pleased to break that."

Fletcher left the action after 51 minutes with a foot injury but McCarthy said it was not serious.

Jones' goal showed great invention -- the former Derby player flicking up a free-kick and volleying in -- and highlighted McCarthy's need for him to stay.

The 25-year-old is in the final year of his contract and talks over a new deal have been going on for some time. "I don't really get involved in that but I want him to sign," McCarthy said.

Irish Independent

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