Mick McCarthy and Wolves were handed a huge boost at the weekend in their fight for Premier League survival after claiming three vital points by defeating Burnley at Turf Moor. The men in gold are only the fourth team to beat the Clarets at their home ground this season and it could prove to be a crucial victory as it put three points between Wolves and the relegation zone with a game in hand. Not only were the Wanderers victorious, but they were given further hope after fellow strugglers Wigan, West Ham and Hull City were all defeated at the weekend.
Too often this season Wolves fans have had to endure poor results and bad luck despite the fact that many believe their performances have been better than the league table suggests. Finally, by two Burnley errors McCarthy’s men finally got the luck many feel they deserved at the most important time. On the weekend before last it was all hard luck and what-if stories for the Wolverhampton faithful when they saw Stephen Ward and Sam Vokes spurn two golden opportunities against the champions of England, Manchester United. That was forgotten as soon as Tyron Mears’ errant headed backpass fell short of the Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen, allowing Matt Jarvis to tap into an unguarded net. Wolves got a little more luck after the half-time break when Adlene Guedioura’s shot deflected kindly into the Burnley goal for a second goal. The Wanderers were made to sweat a bit at the end as the Clarets pulled themselves back into the game with a Steven Thompson header, which led to a nervy 17 minutes before the away side could celebrate the eventual victory.
Despite all the recent good news for the club they know full well that they are not out of the woods yet as there is plenty of hard work still to do. Wolves will have to pick up even more points on the road as five of their last nine games are away from Molineux. But the recent win is the sort of positive result has been a long time in coming and should give the squad a huge confidence boost in the run up to the trials ahead. Wolves’ record signing Kevin Doyle put the current situation perfectly when he said: “It just moves us three points closer to a happy end to the season. It also gives us some confidence with nine games left.” He added: “Another three or four wins would push us towards safety but everyone around us will be thinking the same thing.” Next on the agenda for Wolves is a Midlands derby at Villa Park against Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa, who should prove a much sterner test than Burnley. Chances may be few and far between against the Premier League’s meanest defence, but McCarthy will be hoping his recent luck continues as his counterpart O’Neill has never won a league game in the month of March during his four years as Aston Villa boss.
In other news goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann has expressed his wish to stay at the club as his 12-month deal is due to expire this summer. Hahnemann, 37, has put in some impressive displays at times this season and he hopes to continue to be the man between the sticks for Wolves in the future. The USA international said: “I would love to be here next season. I want to stay and the club are hoping to keep me here, so hopefully everything will be done soon. I have spoke to the manager on a number of occasions about staying here and we are both singing from the same hymn sheet, so I can’t see there being too much of a problem when it comes to thrashing out a new deal.” On the transfer front, Wolves’ striking options have increased as they welcome back 31-year-old striker Chris Iwelumo, who has returned from Bristol City after a fairly successful month spent at Ashton Gate. Stefan Maierhofer, 27, will go the other way after completing a 28-day emergency loan to the Robins. The Austrian striker has not seen much football since arriving from Rapid Vienna last summer – he has made only two starts and seven appearances as a substitute.