McCarthy counts down weeks until return of defensive pair

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, is hoping defenders Jody Craddock and Ronald Zubar will be fit within the next fortnight. Craddock has been sidelined for two weeks since limping off with a thigh injury against West Ham United, while Zubar has been out for more than two months and recently underwent an operation to remove an ankle spur.

McCarthy said: "Ronald is out there kicking balls at the moment and he's progressing well. He's doing his rehabilitation, but as far as planting his foot down and kicking, he's fine, so tackling is the next thing for him. I can't give a time on it but he'll be back sooner rather than later. I said he'd be four weeks from the operation and it's been two weeks already since then, so he might be back playing in two weeks. I would hope he'd be back in full training next week, and then there's reserve games to look forward to.

"He had a great time last season – once he got into the team, he was almost ever-present so it will be good to have him back."

McCarthy added of Craddock: "I can't give a time when he'll be fully fit but I spoke to him yesterday morning and he seems happy enough with the way he's coming along. He's been running and he's doing rehab work in the gym to keep his fitness up. I said at the time that I thought we'd be looking at the Bolton game [on 13 November] and I still think that might be the case. He'll need a reserve game before we can get him back to contention for the first team.

"Not that he'll need long because he's played all the games beforehand, but he'll need a match before he comes back."

The Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham intends to see out his career at the Britannia Stadium after clinching a new one-year contract. Last week's announcement means the 31-year-old is now tied to the Potteries outfit until 2013.

He had no hesitation in signing an extension even though he is not currently part of the Stoke manager Tony Pulis's first-choice line-up.

"I would love to see out my career here," Higginbotham said. "I have been here four years now and this is where I've enjoyed my career the most.

"I'm settled in the area. I'm close to my family, I got married in the summer and there's a lot of good people at this football club."

McCarthy counts down weeks until return of defensive pair