City boss issues Wolves warning
CHRIS LAKEY They're two players from the same football era who became friends during a coaching course in the summer - but Glenn Roeder and Mick McCarthy are experiencing both sides of management as they prepare to wave goodbye to 2007.
They're two players from the same football era who became friends during a coaching course in the summer - but Glenn Roeder and Mick McCarthy are experiencing both sides of management as they prepare to wave goodbye to 2007.
Roeder has overseen an on-going revival at Carrow Road, where just one defeat in eight games has lifted the Canaries off the bottom and out of the Championship relegation zone.
But at Molineux, McCarthy is struggling to live up to the pre-season promise, when Wolves fans expected the massive financial clout of Steve Morgan to be translated into results.
Instead, they have seen their team begin to stumble: they haven't won in five games and haven't even scored in their last six away games.
But while Roeder will send his team out asking for more of the same after the Boxing Day draw with Charlton, there is a warning attached - beware the angry Wolves.
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"Their form is a bit patchy at the moment, but they have enough in their squad to be at the top end of the table, where they are meant to be," said Roeder.
"From that point of view they are a dangerous team. Hopefully they won't spring back into life at the weekend.
"I did my Pro Licence with the manager last year. We have got to know each other pretty well over the year and I have a lot of time for him.
"As he said to me the last time we saw each other, there are expectations with the new owner, Steve Morgan, who wants them to be promoted this year - but that is the expectation I want to make sure we have at Norwich.
"First of all we have a job to do picking up points to get ourselves to calmer waters."
Talk in Wolverhampton is of a trip to Norfolk which could save Wolves' season.
"That is for Mick to talk about, that is Mick's problem," said Roeder. "Mick is very good at talking up his team. I like him, he is a good honest man, but it is my job to talk up our chances.
"I just want to make sure we are in the right frame of mind again to basically to carry on where we left off on Boxing Day, on the front foot, taking the game to the opposition - and that's what we will endeavour to do."
Roeder's bullish manner was in contrast to that of McCarthy, who was more like a sheep in wolf's clothing as he spoke frankly about his team's faltering form and the unrest among supporters.
McCarthy admitted he felt sorry for the Wolves fans who were "let down" by the 2-0 defeat at Hull on Boxing Day and said the only way to appease them would be to start winning.
"When you are not doing well, everything is questioned," he said. "It's a results business and if you are not winning, everyone looks at the players and the manager differently and everyone looks at their strengths and weaknesses differently.
"Let's not dress things up - two draws in five games is not good enough and we need a better performance than the one on Boxing Day at Hull. We need points."
The last time the two teams met, in September, Wolves were 2-0 winners, but the scoreline failed to tell the whole story, with City putting in a truly miserable performance, which wasn't helped by red cards for Jason Shackell and Julien Brellier.
However, McCarthy says the December version of Norwich City is "a completely new side".
"They are much improved since the game in September," he said. "Glenn has done a good job and there is no question that he will have got them very well organised."