Mick McCarthy believes veteran Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann can gatecrash the United States World Cup squad if he maintains his rich vein of form.
McCarthy decided to recall the experienced Hahnemann two months ago to replace Wayne Hennessey, and the 37-year-old has responded with a series of fine performances; he was voted man of the match by Wolves fans during Saturday's 2-0 home reverse at the hands of Wigan.
Everton' s Tim Howard and Aston Villa's No 2, Brad Guzan, may be in pole position to be the USA's first and second choice goalkeepers in South Africa. But McCarthy feels Hahnemann, who was part of the 2006 squad in Germany, can push them all the way.
McCarthy said: "If Marcus is playing in my team then he's giving himself a chance for the World Cup because, whatever else goes on with him, he really has been excellent. He's playing in the Premier League and, if he continues to do so, it would be great for him to be selected, but he's up against some good goalkeepers."
McCarthy's key priority during January is to sign a striker, with Wolves having netted only 17 times in 21 league games. He is now being linked with a move for Stoke's James Beattie. McCarthy, though, insists he will be reasonably content with his current batch of forwards if he cannot attract new blood.
"We've got Chris Iwelumo back from injury and Sam Vokes from a loan spell at Leeds and, with Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, I've got four strikers," he said. "Stefan Maierhofer won't be too long coming back from injury – Andy Keogh will be a bit longer – so I'm alright for strikers. But if we get someone, and we're looking for someone, then fine; if we don't, then I'll be happy with what we've got."
Amr Zaki is joining Hull City to prove he is a "good player and a good man". The Egypt striker has agreed a loan move from Zamalek to the KC Stadium for the rest of the season and the deal is expected to go through later this week, once the paperwork has been completed.
It will be the second stint in the Barclays Premier League for the 26-year-old. His first, with Wigan, started well before ending in acrimony with the then Latics manager Steve Bruce.
Zaki is hoping for better this time around. "There have been many things written about me in the past; I want to prove that I am a good player and also a good man," he said.
"Once the directors of Zamalek told me that I had permission to speak to Hull City I could not wait to get back to England. I met with the manager [Phil Brown] and the chairman [Adam Pearson]. They made me feel wanted."
Zaki won't be considered for this weekend's trip to Manchester United as he is short of match-fitness but he is hoping to be fit for the game against Wolves. He added: "I will be working hard on my fitness and I hope to be available for the manager to select me as soon as possible.
"The Premier League is the best league in the world and I can't wait to be involved on a matchday again. I talked with Mr Brown and I explained that I want to work hard in the Premier League, score goals and help Hull City."
Brown, meanwhile, is also hoping that Jimmy Bullard will return from a knee injury for the match with Wolves.
"Jimmy has come away with us [to training camp in Tenerife] and we'll be condensing his work to two or three sessions a day for a full week, and hopefully he'll get back in the group," Brown said.
"With the Manchester United game being brought forward three days, that probably puts Jimmy at too much of a risk – but I'm confident that he will play some part in the Wolves game."