Wolves: Aussie clashes crucial

Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy says the pre-season clashes with Perth Glory and North Queensland Fury will be vital to 'topping up' his players' fitness ahead of a potentially gruelling return to the English Premiership.

Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy says the pre-season clashes with Perth Glory and North Queensland Fury will be vital to 'topping up' his players' fitness ahead of a potentially gruelling return to the English Premiership.

Speaking in Perth in a joint press conference with Glory coach and good friend Dave Mitchell, McCarthy said the team's Australian pre-season camp was an excellent opportunity for the players to work on their fitness and for new team members to bond with the others.

But McCarthy was also playing down what losses to the Glory and Fury might mean for the Championship winners' chances of surviving in the Premier League this season.

"We lost one pre-season friendly last year and that was to Wrexham and they weren't in the league," McCarthy said on Wednesday morning.

"You laugh but there was nobody laughing when we lost, except for me probably on the inside, because I laugh at people's reactions to pre-season friendlies."

"We've had good pre-season (matches) and struggled in the league and we've had bad pre-seasons and wiped the floor with teams, (so) they don't really matter, it's getting yourself fit and prepared for the season ahead."

"What I do know is about my own players, yet it's their first pre-season game, the first game coming back after being off for two months."

"When you come back you can be a bit rusty, can't you? No matter what you're doing."

"(But) the preparation's vital for us, because it's going to be a tough season, no question it's going to be a tough season, history tells us that."

McCarthy was previously in charge of Sunderland when it won the Championship title in 2004-05 before struggling to replicate that form in the Premiership the next season as the Black Cats were relegated and he was fired by the club.

However, the 50-year-old laughed off suggestions he was looking to get the bitter taste out of his mouth from the previous Premiership campaign, saying the challenge of keeping his side in the top flight was all he was focusing on.

"I'm looking to savour it again, really pleased with that bad taste," he joked.

"(But) you could have said, 'look Mick, what a fantastic season you had last season, 90 points, you scored 80 goals, you've got a fantastic team you've signed this fellow, that fellow, that fellow...'"

"'You must be really relishing the challenge of the Premiership and hoping to do better next time.'"

"Yes I am. So in answer to my own question, yes, I am hoping to do better than last time."

"(But) I'll settle for what Hull and Stoke brought. We want to stay up."

"Of course we'd accept 17th, we want to stay in the league."

"Finishing 17th in the Premier League is like winning the Championship and you should have seen how happy we were when we won the Championship last year."

"That means staying in the Premiership. We're not setting off with a lofty ambition to finish 17th, we're setting off to do our best, but accepting 17th, yes I would of course."