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Struggling Wolves fire manager McCarthy

Updated: February 13, 2012, 12:58


FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2011 file photo, Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy walks from the pitch after his team's 4-1 loss at Manchester United in their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England. Wolverhampton Wanderers fired manager Mick McCarthy, the club said in a statement released Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

LONDON(AP) Wolverhampton Wanderers fired manager Mick McCarthy on Monday, a day after a humiliating drubbing by its local rival left the club fighting to preserve its Premier League status.

The former Ireland coach's final match in charge of Wolves was Sunday's 5-1 home loss to fellow Midlands team West Bromwich Albion, a fifth straight home defeat in all competitions that plunged the team back into the relegation zone with 13 matches remaining this season.

McCarthy, who joined Wolves in 2006, became the third manager to lose his job in the Premier League this season - after Steve Bruce at Sunderland in December and Neil Warnock at Queens Park Rangers last month.

"I'm afraid the board thought we had little or no choice,'' Wolves owner Steve Morgan said. "Mick's a good guy and the decision was taken extremely regretfully, but results have not been good enough this season.''

McCarthy, who played 57 times for Ireland and coached his national team at the 2002 World Cup, took charge of Wolves when they were in the second-tier League Championship and led them to promotion in 2009.

Wolves is currently 18th in the 20-team standings, two points above bottom team Wigan.

"Wolves has historically been one of the great clubs in English football,'' Morgan said. "Hanging around the bottom few places and relegation is not what this club is about.

"We need to pick ourselves up and be aiming up the league and hopefully that's what the new man will take us forward with. We have ambitions and fighting relegation is not one of those ambitions.''

Chief executive Jez Moxey said Wolves hope to announce a successor to McCarthy before the club's next league game, against Newcastle on Feb. 25. Terry Connor, Wolves assistant manager, will take charge of the first team in the meantime.

McCarthy, who was a tough-tackling defender as a player and is renowned for his bluntness and honesty as a manager, apologized Sunday for the team's lackluster display against West Brom at Molineux, which led to a small demonstration by fans after the game.

"I really feel it is a privilege to have managed such a great club and I've had the best of times,'' McCarthy said in a statement.

British bookmakers installed former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez and Alan Curbishley, who managed West Ham between 2006-08, as the favorites to replace McCarthy.

Bruce and Warnock have also been linked with the post.

"This is not a situation where a manager will come in with an open checkbook and be able to buy his way to success,'' Morgan said.

"He will have to do it the way this club is run, sensibly, prudently, and we understand that is a difficult ask to find that character.''

Wolves, who only secured their Premier League status last season on the final weekend, have the Premier League's leakiest defense at home and have been over-reliant on goals from top scorer Steven Fletcher.

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