Wolves boss expects Midlands rivalry to grow over comings months

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Mick McCarthy expects the intensity of the rivalry between Wolves and the other Midlands clubs to increase in the battle for Barclays Premier League survival.

Wolves will take a break from their relegation fight on Tuesday night when they take on Doncaster in an FA Cup third round replay at Molineux. But the scrap to stay up is top of the agenda with Wolves, West Brom, Birmingham and Aston Villa all striving to cling onto their top flight status.

McCarthy said: "I'm not so sure the rivalry needs fuelling any more. The intensity is going to increase because of the importance of staying in the Premier League. There are four of us from this area all threatened and might not be in the Premier League next season if we are not careful."

He added: "It is going to make it a little more intense come the end of the season."

McCarthy remains confident that Wolves have the know-how and attitude to ensure they stay up for the second season running.

He said: "I am confident because of the group of players I have and the way they conduct themselves and play.

"We had an ordinary first part of the season. We have had good results recently and played very well.

"That is what gives me confidence we will stay up and being in the bottom three is not fazing me.

"I'd knew we'd go back into the bottom three at some stage. But we will be out of it by May 22, I'm sure of that."

McCarthy will be boosted by the return of team skipper Karl Henry and club captain Jody Craddock to the starting line-up for Tuesday night's clash. The duo have had lengthy injury lay-offs with knee and hip problems respectively although Henry impressed as a substitute in Saturday's 4-3 loss at Manchester City.

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Doncaster Rovers
West Bromwich Albion
Manchester City
Jody Craddock
Premier League
Karl Henry
Aston Villa
Wolverhampton Wanderers
FA Cup
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