Skipper Karl Henry today paid tribute to the job Mick McCarthy carried out at Molineux – but said victory tomorrow is paramount for Wolves whoever the opposition.
McCarthy will bring his Ipswich team to Molineux for his first return visit since leaving the job after almost six years in February, a spell which saw Wolves win the Championship title and then spend three years in the Premier League until relegation in May.
Henry was one of the first players signed by McCarthy back in July, 2006, and while grateful for some happy times together at Wolves, is keenly concerned about Wolves responding to the Boxing Day capitulation against Peterborough and starting to improve an “embarrassing” league position.
“Mick contributed a lot to the club in the six years that he was here,” said the captain.
“I think that he’s easily the most successful manager Wolves have had at the club in recent years.
“In Wolves’ modern era he deserves a lot of respect for what he did.
“He bought me to the club and signed some good players and did a great job and I don’t think that anyone can deny that. He’s certainly turned things around at Ipswich and we know that it’s going to be a tough game for us.
“We know what they will be about and I’m sure that Mick will think he knows what we will be about.
“So yes, it will be tough but after Peterborough we need to bounce back, and quickly.
“At the moment it’s not about wanting to beat Mick McCarthy’s team any more than beating anyone else.
“Right now we are embarrassed about where we are in the league and we need to do something about it.
“We had started to make a little bit of progress and then we go and perform like that against Peterborough.
“We need to look at ourselves and buck our ideas up.”
Henry was at a loss to explain the Peterborough performance, which came on the back of an upturn in standards and results with Wolves having won three out of four.
“We were rubbish against Peterborough,” he admitted.
“We never got going and we looked lethargic.
“We let ourselves down, the manager down, the coaching staff down and the fans down.
“It was a dour performance at home.
“The last four performances have been very good and the only one we lost at Middlesbrough we didn’t deserve to.
“Peterborough was certainly a big anomaly.
“I know the fans showed their frustrations but they were 100 per cent right to do that – we were awful.”
Henry continued: “Why did it happen? I don’t know.
“We’ve got some very capable players.
“But against Peterborough we didn’t have a match-winner.
“Sometimes you can play poorly but have got someone who can pull something out of the bag.
“That didn’t happen and as a team we were nowhere near it.
“We were second to things and when balls were bouncing around we weren’t winning things like we usually do.
“We didn’t get tight to people.
“That can’t happen and we will need to look at the game again and go through it with a fine tooth comb and pick it apart.”
The nature of the npower Championship means the gap of six points to the play-offs does not yet rule Wolves out of making an upwardly mobile charge should they find their consistency.
Henry has admitted it has been difficult for the team to re-adjust to life in the second tier, but that it’s up to the players to make it happen.
“It is frustrating,” he added.
“When we were relegated from the Premier League I think everyone expected us to be towards the top of the Championship and so did we.
“I think it’s maybe a bigger transition coming down out of the Premier League than it is going up into it.
“There is a way of playing in both divisions and we didn’t do enough to stay in the Premier League last season and now we have come down we haven’t yet shown we’ve got what it takes back in the Championship.
“We have got to put that right.”