McCarthy hails ‘gem’ Jody

Craddock was outstanding last season and weighed in with some
crucial goals – including two against Tuesday night’s opponents
Stoke in the corresponding game at the Britannia Stadium. He was
restored to the starting line-up at the age of 35 after an
injury-hit campaign for Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Fulham. But
McCarthy has no doubts about Craddock being ready and in the right
frame of mind for the finale. The Wolves boss said: “Jody is the
epitome of the player that we all want to have in our squads. “He
has been an absolute gem. To be fair, Christophe Berra and Richard
Stearman have had a great spell and been terrific together. “But I
needed to change it and Craddock comes in at 35 and looks like a
25-year-old. He is terrific. “It didn’t surprise me at all because
he comes in and trains and goes in the gym and works his socks off
and has got a body fat of six per cent or something. “He works at
it all the time and is ready to go and plays in the reserves and
does it properly. He is ready to go.” Wolves can move out of the
bottom three with a win or draw against Tony Pulis’ side and
McCarthy will be looking for another major contribution from
striker Steven Fletcher. The former Burnley player turned in an
impressive performance and found the net against the Cottagers.
McCarthy said: “Fletch was excellent on Saturday and everything I
knew he was and what I bought him for. “He deserved his goal for
the way he played. It was a real individual performance of someone
playing up front on his own that he did very very well. “His
work-rate was very good and he’d got a kick on the calf so there
was no point risking him finishing the game. “The last thing we
needed was for him to be unavailable for Stoke and possibly
Birmingham as well next weekend. But he really is a very talented
player.” Wolves will not risk striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who
suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury when appearing as a
substitute against Fulham. McCarthy said: “He’ll probably miss just
the one game. “He hasn’t torn it but he’s aware of it so if he
misses the Stoke game, he misses 20 per cent of our remaining
games. “If he plays and gets injured, he might miss 80 per cent of
our remaining games.”