Behind every good manager there is usually an equally adept assistant manager – and that’s the role Brian Carey has carried out to very successful effect in supporting Dean Saunders at both Wrexham and Doncaster.
The role of the number two can never be understated at any level of football, the job not only involving supporting and backing up the manager on pitch and training field but also sometimes acting as that buffer between playing squad and boss.
And 44-year-old Carey exudes the sort of calm and assured confidence which has sat perfectly with Saunders and will hopefully do so once again alongside fellow new arrival – fitness coach Mal Purchase.
“All of us are delighted to be here and it’s a fantastic opportunity for us,” says Carey.
“I have been very impressed with the club so far, it is very well structured.
“Hopefully we can push on and get the club moving again.”
As a player the Irishman – who earned three international caps - spent almost a decade with Wrexham, taking in one promotion, two relegations and an FA Cup quarter final.
Prior to that he had been signed by Manchester United from Cork City, and while not managing a senior appearance whilst at Old Trafford he did make it to the Premier League with Leicester City.
Coaching followed his playing career whilst at Wrexham, later managing at the Racecourse Ground where for a while he was assisted by Steve Weaver, before then assisting Saunders both with the Dragons and at Doncaster.
Carey’s experience built up at different levels of the game also dovetails with that of Saunders, and provides a bank of knowledge and know-how which can only benefit their aims to be a success at Molineux.
“Dean has spent longer at the top than I have and longer at international level as well,” says Carey.
“I did play for Leicester in the Premier League for a spell and also got some caps with the Republic of Ireland and have also spent time in the Conference trying to get Wrexham up as well.
“I have probably spent more time at the lower end of the spectrum and it’s good that we can bounce off each other in that sense.”
And the backroom team at Wolves is set to become an extremely tight unit followed the trio’s arrival.
Development Coach Weaver has maintained links to Carey from their Wrexham days, Tony Daley was an Aston Villa team-mate of Saunders while Pat Mountain is also well known to all from the footballing circuit.
So too the recently re-structured backroom pair of Kevin Thelwell and Stuart Webber – the latter having also worked for Wrexham – and it’s fair to say that there is going to be very much a team effort behind the scenes.
“Myself and Dean have spent a lot of time together and bounce ideas off one another,” explains Carey.
“That’s how we work it but we also involve all the staff – it’s never just the two of us.
“We want to work as a team and get everyone involved, it’s not just a one man band and everybody has to play a part.
“It’s uncanny that we are here now and so many of the backroom staff already know each other.
“I know the guys well and there are no egos – it’s all about hard work and a genuine effort to do the job properly.
“It is great to come somewhere where there are so many familiar faces and to know that we are all going to work together well and has really helped us to settle in.
“We will always be asking opinions from the people that are here along with forming our own as we go along.
“Everyone around the place has also really helped us to bed in and you can see from how people work why Wolves have had success in the past.
“There is a really strong work ethic going through the club.”
What then are Saunders’ qualities, according to his right hand man?
Clearly enthusiasm and an infectious personality are there for all to see, but shouldn’t mask the sort of management and tactical skills which have seen him leave Wrexham and Doncaster in very good shape when moving on.
“Everybody talks about Dean’s enthusiasm and of course he has got that – but he is also really good at his job,” says Carey.
“I know people have said about Mick McCarthy’s teams when he was here that they work hard - but they are also good teams.
“Dean has that enthusiasm and the sort of qualities you need in that respect but he also knows exactly what he is doing!
“He has also been a top player and for the strikers it must be a dream.
“He will be able to pass things onto them and they will only improve as a result.
“From where he has been as a player at the top level and then working as a coach or assistant manager both with Wales and in the Premier League, I think that has done it for him and he is good at what he does.
“He has had good results as a manager too and has learned along the way about winning football matches.
“And he will work as hard as he can, he’ll be guilty of not going home and I think that’s only a good thing.
“At Wrexham he once came in at 6.30 in the morning to clean the snow – and he’ll do things like that.
“You’ve got someone at the helm like that and he will expect everyone else who is earning money from the club to perform in exactly the same way.
“It’s about knowledge but also the personality to put it across.
“Players always have their own views and agendas and they are all different people so it is about man management and with Dean I think he has a way of getting them to respond.
“He’s good at asking the right questions and prompting people with ‘are you sure’ and ‘what about this’ or ‘what about that?’
“He wants everybody to be as good as they possibly can be, and that’s staff and players.
“Give it everything you can to be the best you can every single day.
“They are simple things but it’s what we try to work with and it can go a long way.”
It is of course early days of the Saunders’ tenure, but the signs have been positive with the reaction of the players in training as well as the promise of Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Blackburn.
Carey admits that spirits were initially different to that of the Doncaster dressing room left behind, but is confident things are now on an upward curve.
“There is a talented group of players here,” he says.
“We left a dressing room at Doncaster where they were near the top of the league and the players were in every da y bouncing and it was a good place to be.
“I didn’t see that for the first couple of days but there’s always the situation where a new set-up comes in that players are wondering what is going to happen and whether they are going to be alright.
“There had been a bad run of results so it was only natural the place would be down a little bit.
“But I have seen signs, especially against Blackburn the other night, that things are picking up.
“There were a lot of good qualities on display in that game and there have been in the training sessions as well.
“That is our job – to just re-ignite the spark.
“Football is not rocket science, there is no magic formula.
“We have our way of doing things and we know it works so if we can get everyone buying into it – players and staff – and create an atmosphere where people appreciate and want to come to work every day.
“They know they will have to work hard but they can enjoy it at the same time and when you start getting results it is fantastic.”