We’ve made no bids for Wolves players, insists Mick McCarthy
Wolves v Ipswich: MICK McCarthy knows a few Wolves players may lift their game today when he returns to Molineux – but he insists he hasn’t made attempts to bring any of them to Ipswich Town yet.
The Blues boss – who spent six largely successful years at the Midlands club before being controversially sacked in February – has been linked with a number of his former players as the January transfer window fast approaches.
There have been reports that a deal for right-back Ronald Zubar has already been agreed, while the likes of Richard Stearman, Karl Henry, Sylan Ebanks-Blake and Stephen Hunt – the latter two in the final year of their contracts – have also inevitably been mentioned.
Wolves boss Stale Solbakken will undoubtedly be looking to start moulding his own squad for the compact passing style of football he favours, while McCarthy – who admits he has a ‘thin’ squad – is looking for physical and athletic players to fit his traditional 4-4-2 system.
The Blues boss insists he would rather keep the majority of his current loan players rather than replace them next month though, with the gritty 2-1 win at Charlton on Boxing Day making it an impressive 20 points from a possible 33.
Wolves – relegated under the caretaker management of Town assistant boss Terry Connor – have struggled on their return to the Championship, with Wednesday’s 3-0 home defeat to Peterborough leaving them just four points above 20th-placed Ipswich.
“I’ve had plenty of contact with people there on a personal basis, but not on a business basis,” said McCarthy. “I’ve never spoken to Stale Solbakken. I assume I’ll speak to him at the game.
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“If you want to change the way a team plays, then I guess you change the players. I haven’t watched them that much though and have genuinely got no interest in what’s going on there.
“The players know me at Wolves, they’ll know full well what to expect from me and my team, as I’ll know what to expect from them. Maybe a few of them will be wanting to impress and show me why I signed them.”
Asked if he felt a few of his former players might be looking to work under him again at Portman Road, he said: “I’ve got no idea. I think it’s always the case that if a manager signs you and trusts you – and that feeling is mutual – then they might think that. They’ll not be doing me any favours when we play them though.
“I wouldn’t tell you if I had bid for any of their players, but there hasn’t been (any bids). Jez Moxley, the chief executive, is a good friend of mine, but I’ve not discussed business with him. What I can say is he is one of the best I’ve seen at getting value for players.”
Town currently have six players coming to the end of their deals in January. It has been agreed that Danny Higginbotham will extend his loan from Stoke until the end of the season, while McCarthy has confirmed that Bilel Mohsni will be returning to Southend United on December 31.
DJ Campbell (January 5), Nigel Reo-Coker (Janaury 12) Stephen Henderson (January 13) and Bradley Orr (January 26) all face uncertain futures, with McCarthy saying: “I’d like to keep the loanees we’ve got, but I also don’t want to get to the stage where it’s panic stations at the end of January if someone is called back.
“I need to get an answer as to whether I can keep them as soon as possible. They’re all enjoying it and I think they’ll be keen to stay, but there are all sorts of mitigating circumstances.”
He continued: “We’ve been looking ever since I’ve come in at people we can sign or get on loan. We’ll do our best to get some of the targets that we’ve set our sights on.
“We certainly need to supplement the squad because it’s not the biggest. We had 23 players on duty over Christmas and that included Tyrone Mings, who we’ve just signed from Chippenham, Josh Carson, one of the younger players, and Bilel Mohsni, who’s going back to Southend.
“I’ve spoken to loads of managers, but nothing is going to happen immediately. It doesn’t just all fall into place on January 1st – it doesn’t work like that.”
– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson and @davegoods on twitter for live match updates.