Football

Wolves Vs Blackburn Rovers, Sat 24 Apr 2010

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Mick McCarthy has hailed the "huge impact" of veteran Wolves goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann as his side look to secure their Barclays Premier League future this weekend.

Victory over against Blackburn at Molineux will ensure top-flight football for another campaign barring a freak set of results during the final two games which would alter a goal difference currently significantly in Wolves' favour.

And, while Kevin Doyle has earned the plaudits for his performances as the lone striker, McCarthy is also quick to recognise the contribution of Hahnemann, who will be 38 in June.

McCarthy said: "Marcus has had a huge impact. Wayne was fabulous last season but he'd had no Premier League experience and I was aware of that when I signed Marcus.

"When I knew he was on a free transfer last summer, that was one of my first phone calls. I rang him very early in the summer. I think he'd only just got back home (to America).

"I knew all about him but I was very surprised he was available, I have to admit, so I was thrilled to get him.

"Marcus, to his eternal credit, accepted the fact Wayne was number one and he had to dislodge him.

"But he came into the team at a time when I thought we needed more solidity and experience and he came in and played very well. That's why he's kept his slot."

McCarthy will take nothing for granted regarding Wolves' future and knows Blackburn will want to spoil the party atmosphere that would inevitably engulf Molineux if top-flight football is guaranteed.

He said: "We would love to confirm our safety. It's funny sometimes that the more you want something and crave it, the harder it becomes.

"It would be great to get three points and ensure our safety but it might happen, it might not. We'll do our best that's for sure. I don't want anyone else to help us out. I'd like to confirm it ourselves.

"But we're up against a Blackburn team who are coming to us to try and win points and finish as high up the league as they can. They will make it really difficult for us."

Midfielder Matt Jarvis is expected to have recovered from a thigh strain while captain Karl Henry will serve the final game of a three match ban for his red card at Arsenal earlier in the month.

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is crossing his fingers that Morten Gamst Pedersen will sign a new deal but admits the midfielder will have been made more lucrative offers by other clubs.

The Norway international is out of contract at the end of the season and has been made an offer to stay by Blackburn, whom the 28-year-old joined in 2004.

Allardyce, who expects a decision from the player next week, said: "We have gone as far as we can from a financial point of view and have made the best offer we can make.

"I'm sure he can better that offer elsewhere, I'm positive about that - there are plenty of people out there who would like to grab Morten on the basis of his experience and his capability of playing.

"Being on a free transfer could bring far greater financial advantage than probably we have offered.

"But hopefully he will balance that against the fact that he's had a great career here and that he's a regular."

There will be little at stake in Saturday's match at Molineux apart from league places, and Rovers can still finish in the top half of the Premier League.

Allardyce has his eye on 10th spot but is also likely to use the match to freshen up his starting line-up - it may, for example, be an opportunity for Turkish midfielder Yildiray Basturk to stake his claim for a contract for next season.

"Finishing in the top half of the table is a priority but it's also a chance to use some of the other players," said Allardyce.

Blackburn will be without Chris Samba (groin) and Brett Emerton (hamstring) while El Hadji Diouf is doubtful after suffering from tonsilitis.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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