Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy wanted to sign Burton Albion winger Michael Kightly

Michael Kightly (right) in action for Burton Albion

Michael Kightly (right) in action for Burton Albion - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy was keen on being reunited with former winger Michael Kightly, earlier this season.

Kightly (31) was a revelation under McCarthy at Wolves, having been signed by the former Sunderland manager, from non-league Grays Athletic for £25,000, over a decade ago.

The winger helped the Molineux club win promotion to the Premier League under McCarthy, but the duo will be on opposite sides tomorrow, when the Blues travel to Burton Albion, for whom Kightly in currently playing, on-loan from Premier League Burnley.

McCarthy said: “The first day he came into training (at Wolves), two or three lads were saying ‘who the hell is that?’

“He really lit the place up and I am glad to see him back playing.

“I was trying to get him here for a while, it didn’t work, and we took Tom Lawrence which was no hardship.

“But he (Kightly) has been desperate to go out and play and has done well really.”

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Kightly has scored three times in eight games for the Brewers who, four points behind Ipswich, are desperate to avoid relegation in what is their first-ever year at Championship level.

And he could be charged with supplying the chances for Luke Varney, who left Portman Road in January after his short-term deal at the club came to an end.

He (Varney) was brilliant, he was such a great kid, everyone loved him as a player and a personality,” enthused McCarthy,

He did his Achilles at Norwich and we kept him here, put him up, got him fit, and he repaid us.

“He got the winner at Derby and he contributed a lot on the pitch and certainly off it.”

Tomorrow’s opponents are five points clear of third-bottom Blackburn with five games to go, Nigel Clough managing to keep his team in contention, despite the Brewers only winning promotion to the Football League for the first time, eight years ago.

“He (Clough) has done a remarkable job considering he was touted for Nottingham Forest as well earlier on,” McCarthy said.

“He’s a bit like managers at other clubs, he’s had to bring in loan players, made his team, patched them up sometimes, played different shapes and systems and got results. I think they will stay up.”