Monday 22 May 2017

Wolverhampton Wanderers

There are many reasons why you would want to be in Mick McCarthy's runners rather than those worn by, say, Alex McLeish or Ian Holloway, and it is not just because he has one more point than either of his rivals.

Of the frantic five, Wolves are the only team playing at home on the last day of the campaign, which traditionally is a significant advantage. Molineux is already sold out.

For a side in danger of relegation with one match to play, their home record is very good. They have won as many matches at Molineux as Tottenham have at White Hart Lane or Everton at Goodison Park. Wolves have overcome both Manchester clubs and Chelsea, although as McCarthy would laconically point out, they have sometimes been dreadful against the sides everyone expects them to beat.

Nevertheless, it was his decision to prefer Waterford's Stephen Hunt -- relegated with both Reading and Hull -- to England international Matt Jarvis that sparked a dramatic upswing.

McCarthy described keeping Wolves in the Premier League last season as his greatest moment in football and a repeat would be no small achievement given that they have been in the relegation zone for most of the season.

Because Wolves have a worse goal difference than Blackburn, only victory would guarantee their future. Should they draw, then if both Wigan and Blackpool win, they'll go down.

McCarthy always expected to have his club's future at stake on the final afternoon. However, after what appeared a fatal run of two points from five fixtures, Wolves have timed their surge in to form perfectly with successive wins, first in the Black Country derby and then at Sunderland, where he had failed to oversee a home win in the Premier League as that club's manager. It would not be too much to expect a third successive victory and then a very hard-earned lap of honour.

Score in reverse fixture: Lost 0-3

Last victory v Blackburn: 2-1 Apr 2000

Form: DLDWW

Home form: WDLDW

Top scorer: Steven Fletcher 10

Odds to go down: 10/1

Irish Independent

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