Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy returns to his former club Wolves for the first time today, insisting that he feels no bitterness towards the Midlands side which sacked him in February.
The ex-Ireland manager believes he did well during close to six years at Wolves, in which time he took them to the 2008/09 Championship title and kept them in the Premier League for the following two seasons.
“I did a good job at Molineux,” he said. “I loved it, I had a great time there. I had six years there and it was fabulous, I had a blinding time.
“It’s a great club, great people, I’ve no axe to grind with anybody there. I’m going back with my head held high.
“Hopefully I’ll get a good response. I think I’m entitled to one for what I did at Wolves, but that doesn’t always happen, does it? So, if I get it, fine, if not, I’m not bothered.
“I’ve a really warm feeling towards the club and the fans but when football managers leave, it really is ‘The king is dead, long live the king’ and they don’t give you too much grace or favour in return.”
His tenure was brought to an end in February when he was sacked with the club having dropped into the Premier League relegation zone after a run of one win in 13 matches, but McCarthy says he feels no bitterness.
“Not at all. People make their decisions. As I do if I’m picking a team or doing whatever I’m doing, they have to do with theirs. Whether they have any (regrets) about making the decision, I don’t know.”
Would Wolves have kept their place in the Premier League if he had stayed in charge? “It’s easy for me to say yes, isn’t it? The reality is that I don’t know. I’d done it for two seasons prior to that with the players and we’d been in worse positions than that and stayed up. I do think I would have kept the club up, but it wasn’t to be and I’m here now and I’m loving doing what I’m doing.”
McCarthy’s time at Ipswich has got off to a good start, the Tractor Boys having taken 20 points from his 11 games in charge to climb from bottom of the table to 20th, and he admits that he’d love to add three more to that total today.
“I’d like to go back there, take my team back there, play well, put on a good show and win, of course,” he added.
“There’s always going to be a little bit of you thinking ‘Show everybody what they’re missing’, but Wolves have got a good team.
“They had a bad result during the week (when they lost 3-0 at home to Peterborough) but this league throws up some crazy results. Peterborough have just had three fabulous results. I think Wolves have got a great team and I’m surprised to see them where they are, to be honest.”
Midlands reports have linked McCarthy with a three of his former players – defenders Ronald Zubar and Richard Stearman and striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – but he says there have been no bids to his old club: “I wouldn’t tell you if there had. But there hasn’t been.
“Like I said, they’re all good pals of mine, Jez Moxey, the chief executive, is a good friend of mine. But I’ve not discussed business with them, no.”
Meanwhile, West Ham’s former Irish U21 international keeper Stephen Henderson, 24, says he wants to extend his loan at Ipswich: “I’m due to go back on January 12 but I’ve already spoken to the manager here and told him what I want. I’m desperate to stay here and play games. I don’t want to go back and sit on the bench. I need to play and I like to think I’ve shown what I can do after 16 games.
“I’m open to anything and we’ll just take it as it comes. I’ll have to see what people are saying and weigh up my options.”
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