McCarthy focused on survival

McCarthy is not downplaying the importance of the Hawthorns derby,

having played in them himself for various sides in England,

Scotland, Ireland and France. But he knows ultimately securing

enough points from the final 12 games to ensure Premier League

football for another campaign is all that really matters. 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 are

bottom following last week’s defeat to Arsenal 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.”