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Is the Reds' squad deep enough?

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McCarthy won't rush stars back from injury

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has no intention of risking further injury to Michael Kightly and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake by rushing them back too quickly.

The pair both returned after lay-offs at Old Trafford last night and turned in creditable performances in a 1-0 Carling Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Yet McCarthy has already ruled the pair out of contention for his starting line-up at his old club Sunderland on Sunday.

"They won't be starting,'' he said. "In Kightly's case, it is impossible for someone back after six months out to play 70 minutes at full pelt, then another 70 on Sunday. It just doesn't happen.

"It is great that they have played but we will have fresh legs in the team.''

Kightly had hip and foot operations in the summer, while Ebanks-Blake has been out with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, McCarthy has defended his side's performance on Wednesday night, even though United played the final hour with 10 men following the dismissal of Fabio Da Silva.

Despite the numerical advantage, Wolves failed to make any impression until Kevin Doyle's introduction, by which time Danny Welbeck had already scored what turned out to be the matchwinner.

Given Sir Alex Ferguson had changed his entire starting line-up from Sunday's dramatic Manchester derby win over City, it merely illustrated the gulf that exists within the Premier League.

McCarthy said: "Manchester United need that squad because they will compete in every competition. Other teams won't, including us.''

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