Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is confident stand-in striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake can fill the gap left by injured forward Kevin Doyle for Saturday’s Premier League clash at Newcastle.
The club’s bid to stave off relegation took a major blow when Doyle was ruled out for the season with knee ligament damage sustained while playing for the Republic of Ireland, but McCarthy believes Ebanks-Blake can fire 18th-placed Wolves up the table to safety – starting at St James’ Park at the weekend.
“Kevin has been terrific but someone else has got to play. Sylvan is coming in. If I bemoan the loss of one, it kind of detracts from the ability of the other,” McCarthy said.
“I prefer to look at Sylvan, who can score goals. He has got to play as well as Doyley, simple as that. He has scored goals when involved. I’ve no worries about that.”
McCarthy has taken the unusual step of naming the entire side that will take to the field against Newcastle, the 52-year-old sticking with team that won at Aston Villa two weeks ago with Ebanks-Blake the only change.
“The rest of the team is the same because they have been different class. Why would I change it?” he said.
“Anyone who is watching this can sort their free-kicks and corners out. I don’t give a flying hoot. We are going up there, we’ve been playing well. Why would I try and change and hide it? Let them deal with us.”
Winger Matt Jarvis scored the only goal in the 1-0 win at Villa Park a fortnight ago and earned his first England cap as a late substitute against Ghana in midweek.
But McCarthy admits Wolves will face a battle to keep Jarvis if they receive a big-money offer from one of the leading Premier League clubs, despite him only signing a new five-year contract at the start of this season.
“Jarvo has been here and done nearly five years. He has been wonderful for us. But if a top-four club comes in and offers an unbelievable amount of money for him, it becomes very difficult,” he said.
“The other scenario is we go ‘no chance, we’ve stayed up, we are adding to the squad, we are going to do this or that’.”
McCarthy believes three points against Newcastle, who are 11th in the table, would drag the north-east club right back into the scrap to avoid the drop – but a win for the hosts would pile on the pressure.
“Newcastle have 36 points but, if we beat them, they’re in it (a relegation battle), no question. But a loss would put seven points between us. That would make catching Newcastle hard,” McCarthy added.
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