Club Focus – Wolves – Claret and blue double is huge

Wolves remain deep in a relegation battle but it is off the field stories which are putting them in the headlines as they prepare to face up against Aston Villa in a midlands derby.

Austrian striker Stefan Maierhofer allegedly made an angry outburst in a recent interview, which due to its nature could be cause for concern. Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy decided to loan the former Rapid Vienna player out to Bristol City in order for the striker to gain more first team action. According to the Express & Star Maierhofer is frustrated by his lack of opportunities at Molineux and has criticised the club as well as fellow team mate Kevin Doyle.The 27-year-old said: “I don`t have a clue why I`ve not been in the team. I work hard in training, yet others get to play, why have Wolves signed me only to not use me? Kevin Doyle cost £6.5m, so he has to play. Yet he has just got six goals in 25 games, which is not a great deal.”

Jez Moxley, Wolves CEO responded to the comments about the damning Maierhofer interview, which originated abroad. Moxley said: “Of course we have spoken to Stefan and his agent and we’ve seen transcripts of an interview Stefan gave abroad. This has been translated and does not corroborate what is being reported. We have spoken to a number of people and we haven’t found anyone to confirm what is attributed to Stefan. The staff at Bristol City have given us information about the comments Stefan made and they bear no resemblance to what has been reported so perhaps someone has taken liberties in the extreme. However we will continue to look into it but as far as we are concerned, this sort of thing would be dealt with internally and we will not be making any further comment about it. All we are interested in is preparing for is Saturday’s game against Villa.”

McCarthy’s side will play their second instalment against claret and blue opposition hoping to get something against the Premier League’s meanest defence, who have conceded only 22 goals in 28 games and are unbeaten in the league since the turn of the year. However, Wolves’ defender Roland Zubar believes his side can play with freedom as it is their opponents who are under the most pressure. Villa, currently 7th, are fighting on two fronts as they are vying for a top-four spot and have an FA Cup semi-final to contend. O’Neill has been made to rue the Ides of March during his four-year tenure at Villa Park failing to record a victory in that month but that all changed when James Milner clinched victory against Wigan in midweek.

Zubar said: “Villa is another difficult one but we’ve been doing well away from home. It is a special game because it is a derby and another tough one. Villa will be expected to win because they are at home and so there won’t be any pressure on us. We go to Villa Park and try and do the same things – stay strong on the pitch and stay in the game.”

Wolves’ chances of survival have been increased by the misfortunes of Portsmouth, who were deducted nine points by the Premier League for going into administration. With the south coast club’s fate sealed for relegation this would leave only two more places and increases the Wanderers’ chances for survival. West Ham, Burnley and Hull City are all involved in this season’s relegation scrap and Wolves’ fans will hope they will all drop a few points at they are playing away from home. Many would question the decision of the Tigers to sack former boss Phil Brown 29 games into a season and install Iain Dowie, who has had a mixed managerial career.

The men in gold will hope the recent good form of Matt Jarvis will continue as the winger has been a handful for many Premier League fullbacks this season. Jarvis scored what turned out to be a vital goal against Burnley last weekend as well as giving a superb display in the unlucky loss to Manchester United the week before.

Wolves have found it difficult to hit the back of the net despite good performances too often this season and midfielder David Jones has hailed the positive impact Jarvis has made recently.

Jones said: “Jarvo was a vital player last season and he is again this season.With his pace, he’s a real threat and he’s staying fit which is important. He’s a good outlet for midfielders like myself to use and since I’ve been back in the team we’ve linked up well. He’s done really well and I’m really pleased for him because he works really hard.”

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