Curbishley front-runner to replace sacked McCarthy


Be careful what you wish for, Roy Hodgson warned as Wolves fans demanded Mick McCarthy's head on Sunday. Alan Curbishley received strong backing at the bookies to succeed McCarthy, who was sacked after reporting for work yesterday, but in the parochial world of West Midlands football the impressive job being done on a shoestring at Birmingham may put Chris Hughton on the Molineux wish list.

Wolves' owner and chairman, Steve Morgan, acknowledged Curbishley's credentials, saying: "He has a great track record and the calibre of what we're looking for, but there are a number of other candidates. I don't want to get drawn into a conversation about who we will be talking to but we'd certainly be interested in someone of his calibre. We won't be hanging around, though. We'll take action in the next few days."

Once a contender for the England job, Curbishley kept Charlton in the Premier League for eight seasons before leaving in 2006. His feat in steering West Ham clear of relegation in 2006-07 after seven wins in the final nine games may attract Wolves, who have 13 in which to reach safety.

Curbishley said: "If I get a phone call, then I'll speak to [Morgan]. I have always said I wanted to go back into the Premier League. I've had opportunities to get back since I've been out. The Premier League is for me; I think my record stands up. It's just that I have been out of the game for some time."

Hughton, surprisingly fired by Newcastle in December 2010 after guiding them to the Championship title and making a respectable start in the Premier League, has steered Birmingham into third place in the second tier despite the financial uncertainty surrounding the club.

Other possible candidates include Steve Bruce, dismissed by Sunderland in November; Neil Warnock, available after his sacking by Queen's Park Rangers, although he is renowned more as a promotion specialist than a firefighter; the fiery Billy Davies, sacked by Nottingham Forest last year; and Dave Jones, who steered Wolves into the top flight in 2003. Morgan, a Liverpool fan since the Bill Shankly era until he bought Wolves from Sir Jack Hayward in 2007, will also be aware of the credentials of Rafael Benitez.