The quest for Premier League survival has become so important that cup competitions generally take a back seat for top flight strugglers and McCarthy will hope his decision to give the first-teamers a night off pays dividends come Saturday afternoon.
Wolves need a home win quite badly, having managed just three of them this season and 18 points from 21 games would normally have Wanderers in the relegation zone rather than the 16th place that they occupy.
Owner Steve Morgan has said that results need to improve and the Black Country team are 8/5 (Betfred – £50 free bets) to claim a valuable three points in this Midlands derby.
The home side have actually played quite well recently, drawing games at Arsenal and Tottenham which admittedly isn’t relegation form. However, it’s the same old story at Molineux where goals are hard to come by and Wolves don’t find it easy to break defences down.
Steven Fletcher has proved to be an inspired signing and the Scot is a 6/1 chance (bet365 free bet) to score the first goal of this game, although a forward playing for the visitors could be just about to get his act together.
For Darren Bent, the goals have been in short supply this season and there are rumours linking the England forward with a move away from Villa Park this month although it appears he will be with the Midlands club until the summer.
Can he help the visitors to victory in this game? Paddy Power offer 19/10 about an away win, with the draw priced at 12/5.