Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is gearing up to relegate Mick McCarthy from the Premier League for the second time on Saturday.McCarthy was in charge of Sunderland when they were relegated in 2003 and it was Bruce’s Birmingham City side who dealt the final blow with a win at St Andrew’s in April of that year.
Former Ireland manager McCarthy’s Wolves side is just a point clear of the bottom three with two games left and defeat at Sunderland would put them in big trouble of being overtaken.
“I remember that game at Birmingham,” Bruce said.
“Everyone had known for weeks that they were going down but it was losing to us that made it official.”
“But it will be different this time because Wolves had a terrific win at the weekend against West Brom, which lifted them out of the bottom three and gives them a fighting chance of avoiding relegation.”
“It is in their hands – they know that if they win both their remaining games, they will stay up.”
“But we want to make sure that they do not win on Saturday and that if they do stay up, they do it without beating us.”
Bruce expects a battling game to unfold and argued that his side’s final two games of the season – against Wolves and basement boys West Ham – could not be tougher.
“People might look at our last two games, against Wolves and West Ham, and see where those clubs are in the table and think we should beat them easily, but it isn’t necessarily so.”
“They are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and both our last two games will be very tough for that reason.”
“He is a genuinely decent man and when he was at this club, it was in a very different situation financially to the one it is today.”
“We know what kind of team Mick will bring. He will have a team that is up-and-at-you and he will demand that they have a go – just as he did when he was a player.”
“As a player he was always fiercely competitive and very hard to beat, and his Wolves team mirrors his personality.”
“Everybody will know that Mick, coming back here, will want to turn us over and beat his old club.”
Sunderland will be without goalkeeper Craig Gordon (knee), defenders Titus Bramble (knee) and Michael Turner (knee) and midfielders David Meyler (knee), Jordan Henderson (ankle) and Lee Cattermole (shoulder).
Forwards Fraizer Campbell (knee), Richardson (calf), Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Asamoah Gyan (hamstring) will also be unavailable.