Mick McCarthy has hailed veteran defender Jody Craddock as the epitome of the kind of player Wolves need to win their battle for Barclays Premier League survival.

Craddock was outstanding last season and weighed in with some crucial goals - including two against Tuesday night's opponents Stoke in the corresponding game at the Britannia Stadium.

He was restored to the starting line-up at the age of 35 after an injury-hit campaign for Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Fulham and Wolves boss McCarthy said: "Jody is the epitome of the player that we all want to have in our squads. He has been an absolute gem."

He added: "To be fair, Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman have had a great spell and been terrific together. But I needed to change it and Craddock comes in at 35 and looks like a 25-year-old. He is terrific.


"It didn't surprise me at all because he comes in and trains and goes in the gym and works his socks off and has got a body fat of six per cent or something.

"He works at it all the time and is ready to go and plays in the reserves and does it properly. He is ready to go."

Wolves can move out of the bottom three with a win or draw against Tony Pulis' side and McCarthy will be looking for another major contribution from striker Steven Fletcher.

The former Burnley player turned in an impressive performance and found the net against the Cottagers.

McCarthy said: "Fletch was excellent on Saturday and everything I knew he was and what I bought him for. He deserved his goal for the way he played. It was a real individual performance of someone playing up front on his own that he did very very well.

"His work-rate was very good and he'd got a kick on the calf so there was no point risking him finishing the game. The last thing we needed was for him to be unavailable for Stoke and possibly Birmingham as well next weekend. But he really is a very talented player."

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