Transfer dealings pay dividends for McCarthy

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Having finished last season on much of a high, Mick McCarthy will have spent most of his hard-earned break concentrating on what lay ahead. 

It always seems that newly-promoted teams, having had a decent first season, find it hard to keep that momentum going in their second. Just ask the likes of Reading - finishing in the top half 06/07 and then relegated 07/08. Staying up is tough. 

But you can see what McCarthy's game plan has been throughout the transfer window: bring in some experience. Without a massive budget, you feel that he has succeeded in bringing in some decent players who may just be able to turn those home no-score draws into three points. 

Stephen Hunt, Stephen Fletcher and Steven Moyoukolo have been added, providing a little extra to what McCarthy already has in his armoury; and with the exit of Chris Iwelumo, Mick was clearly looking for someone more reliable in front of goal. 

Hunt has the potential to be a great signing - he loves a scrap and won't stop until the final whistle - exactly what's needed for another tough season. 

Fletcher showed his goal scoring prowess last season in a poor Burnley side, and he instantly played his way into the hearts of the Molineux faithful by scoring the winner against Stoke on Saturday. His goals could prove vital this campaign. 

McCarthy also added a couple of unknowns to his squad over the summer in Geoffrey Mujangi Bia (from Charleroi) and the wonderfully named Jelle Van Damme, a defender who scored 17 goals in 110 appearances in four seasons at Anderlecht. 

Van Damme  - along with Fletcher - had an impressive debut, and is clearly relishing the chance to ply his trade at the top level. 

However, the real worry for McCarthy at the moment could be holding onto players who really proved themselves at the top level last season. 

It seems Dave Jones is reluctant to sign a new contract and a player with such talent as Matt Jarvis could prove tough to hold on to in January if McCarthy doesn't get things right. 

The importance the former manifested itself at the weekend; with Jones providing not only a piece of individual genius, but a sweetly struck, majestic volley that ricocheted in off the crossbar. 

As far as extra additions go, it seems that McCarthy has things under control and is still dedicated to recruiting a few loan signings before the transfer window shuts at the end of August. Chelsea's Michael Mancienne seems to be a continual link after a couple of successful loan spells. 

A 2-1 victory against Stoke represented a great start for McCarthy's men - the exact opposite from last season - and if they can produce such results against other teams in the top-half of the table then they could even avoid being embroiled in what promises to be a tight relegation battle come May. 

But, whatever happens, let's sit back and try to enjoy it. 

*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association. 

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