Mick McCarthy has a point to prove in the Premier League. In two seasons in the top flight with Sunderland his side won just two league games - and in 2005/06, a campaign where McCarthy was dismissed in March, the Black Cats set a then record low points total of 15 as they finished bottom of the table. This season is his chance to set the record straight, as he seeks to keep Wolverhampton Wanderers in the top flight having won the Championship title last season.
They will be expected to struggle, and the English-born former Irish international said nothing should be read into the poor results of his Sunderland team. "That's all water under the bridge and has not got any bearing on what I will do at Wolves," he said. "It didn't work there, but let's see if it works here. We are all hoping it does, and I can't wait. "We are all thrilled to be in the Premier League. You can never replicate playing, but you can get as close when are in charge and in the dug-out.
"Of course the aim is to stay up. It is paramount to our development as a team and as a club. "It doesn't matter how you do it or what day you do it on, maintaining Premier League football is the aim. It's tough and it doesn't need me to say it; the stats back that up. Although two survived last year, the teams who come up are inevitably in the mix to go down. "Competing at the top level is about character, but you have to have ability. There's no point being up there if you are not good enough.
"I'm not talking about matching the top sides, but you have to grind results out and keep picking up points. I'll be telling the players you'll only enjoy it if you win, you'll only enjoy it if you stay up." McCarthy is hoping the £6.5million (Dh39.2m) signing Kevin Doyle, from the Championship side Reading, can click with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to keep Wolves up. "Ebanks-Blake is relishing the prospect of playing at this level and I'm expecting he will prove himself, not hoping." he said.
"He's clinical and punishes teams if he gets chances. He is very determined, full of self-assurance and single minded." McCarthy is focused on surival, but said he expects Chelsea and Manchester United to again be battling for the title at the other end of the table. "Chelsea seem to have that camaraderie and team spirit again that they had when Jose Mourinho was there," he added. "The right noises are coming out of the place and Carlo Ancelotti is a good manager. I think they will be a real force again.
"I don't know if they will stop United, but they will make a good fist of it." @Email:email@example.com