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, swiftly 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 can't afford to. 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 and being forced into the wholesale rebuilding of a relegated team. Other possible candidates who will almost certainly be considered by Morgan and high-profile chief executive, Jez Moxey, 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 fire-fighter; 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 be aware of the credentials of Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard led the Anfield club to Champions League success in 2005 but has been unemployed since departing Internazionale 14 months ago. Paul Ince, who had four years as a Wolves player, also has a Liverpool pedigree. But his experience as a Premier League manager at Blackburn was brief and unsuccessful.
There will also be support for Ian Holloway, who like Warnock is viewed as a type of motivational character, and for the Peterborough manager and ex-Wolves player Darren Ferguson.
McCarthy: Bon mots
Some of Mick McCarthy's most famous quips.
* "I have no problem with tackling, but please don't bitch at my players when we tackle." 2010
* "Fucking abysmal, that was what I fucking thought of it. Come on, I'm trying my best here. What did I make of it? I thought it was the best bit of fucking football I've seen in a long time." On a Wolves own goal, 2009
* "Opinions are like backsides, we've all got them but it's not wise to air them in public." To Joey Barton, 2011
* "Anyone who uses the word 'quintessentially' in a half-time talk is talking crap." 2010
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