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McCarthy focuses on top flight survival


Wolves manager Mick McCarthy Photo: Getty Images

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy Photo: Getty Images

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy Photo: Getty Images

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy insists Barclays Premier League survival is more crucial than obtaining local bragging rights against West Brom in Sunday's bottom four clash at the Hawthorns.

McCarthy is not downplaying the importance of the derby, having played in them for various sides in England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

But he knows ultimately securing enough points from the final 12 games to ensure top flight football for another campaign is of paramount importance.

He said: "The pragmatic approach is that you get three points if you win, the same as if you beat, for example, Fulham.

"I think the important thing is to stay in the league.

"But I also understand the bragging rights, the local feuding between both teams, and accept it.

"As a player I used to accept it whether it was Barnsley-Sheffield Wednesday, Celtic-Rangers, Manchester City-Manchester United, Millwall-West Ham, Lyon-St. Etienne, Northern Ireland-Republic Of Ireland.

"I've played and managed in a few and I love them. There is a bit more spice involved.

"I just try and embrace every game as a huge game in the Premier League.

"The reality is, we both want to beat each us, we are local rivals, it is a huge derby.

"Getting something on Sunday will go a long way towards helping us to stay in the league."

Wolves are facing a crucial period with a home match against Blackpool next weekend following on from the derby encounter.

He said: "Is it a pivotal week? I would say so, of course, with the games we have got coming.

"West Brom and Blackpool are huge games for us. There is no denying that.

"Whatever number of points it is that keeps you up, we've got to find that number from somewhere. We've got 12 games."

Wolves were beaten at Arsenal last weekend to drop into 20th spot but McCarthy believes that result should be put into perspective given the Gunners performance against Barcelona in mid-week.

He said: "We are in particularly good shape. Last game we were beaten by a very good Arsenal team who slapped Barcelona in the week.

"I don't take too much from that. I prefer to take the game before that against Manchester United when we played very well.

"We are bottom of the league but physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, we are in great shape. We are fine."

McCarthy is unsurprised West Brom have turned to Roy Hodgson as the successor to Roberto Di Matteo.

It was Wolves shock 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in December that was almost the final straw for Hodgson before he was sacked.

McCarthy said: "It was a surprise when Roberto went but it is no surprise Albion gave the job to Roy Hodgson because he is a top manager.

"He is better than a safe pair of hands but at this moment in time, this is what they need, and he did it with Fulham.

"He kept them in the league so I'm not surprised they've turned to Roy now.

"Having had one week to work with them, I'm not so sure he could stamp his style on them yet.

"Would it be too much to ask him to flip everything on its head in one week and do something completely different? That is up to Roy, that is his dilemma, not mine."

Defenders Ronald Zubar and George Elokobi are expected to recover from ankle knocks in time to face Albion.

PA Media