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Familiar foe for Keano

Robbie Keane insists we'll be ready for Wolves on Saturday - he knows better than most the man who could make it a tough day for us otherwise.

Robbie Keane insists we'll be ready for Wolves on Saturday - he knows better than most the man who could make it a tough day for us otherwise.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy helped provide some of Robbie's greatest days when he was in charge of the Republic of Ireland.

Having qualified for the World Cup in 2002, the Republic reached the last 16 in South Korea/Japan in a tournament that catapulted Robbie onto the world stage.

Robbie scored some memorable goals - a last-minute equaliser against Germany, the opener in a must-win game against Saudi Arabia and having reached the knockout stage, he was there again in the last minute to take the second round tie against Spain into extra time.

That game eventually went to penalties and Robbie scored the first in the shoot-out before Ireland agonisingly lost out 3-2.

Since then, McCarthy has enjoyed spells at Sunderland and now Wolves, who he guided back to the Premier League last season.

Wolves return to the Lane in the Premier League for the first time since 2003 on Saturday.

We go into the game in fourth place with Wolves scrapping for their lives in 18th but Robbie warns that we'll have to be on our game.

"We have to be ready," said Robbie. "I know Mick McCarthy very well and I know how he gets his players going, he's a tremendous manager and a great motivator and if we think for one moment that we just have to turn up at WHL to win, then we've got another thing coming.

"If we stick to the way we are playing at the moment, then we should get the three points, but it doesn't matter how we get them, the most important thing is to win the match and we'll be ready for Wolves, no question.

"The World Cup in 2002 was fantastic and the Wolves players who are with him at the moment all love him too, he's an honest manager and you know exactly what he wants from you and he's done brilliant with Wolves."


It's a game that means so much to Robbie as Wolves are the team that handed him his chance in English football back in July, 1996.

He made his debut as a 17-year-old and typically burst onto the scene with two goals against Norwich in August, 1997.

"That kick-started my career," he recalled. "Mark McGhee gave me the chance to play in the first team and I had only just turned 17 at the time.

"I'd never even played a reserve game for Wolves but went straight into the first team and that was a great moment in my career.

"It was the first game of the season and my mum and dad were there, so it was obviously a very special moment for me. To then score two goals as well on my debut, well it was just every boy's dream and I was delighted it happened to me.

"I always dreamed as a kid to play professional football and to be given the chance at such a young age was fantastic."

Robbie also had reason to remember that last Lane meeting against Wolves - he scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win in December, 2003.

"It was my first game against Wolves after I'd left them," he said. "I've got great memories of Wolves, they gave me my first chance in professional football and I owe them a great deal.

"Wolves will always be in my heart because as a kid leaving Dublin to go over there was difficult but to have Wolves and the people there looking after me was brilliant. I've got fond memories of that and I certainly look forward to the game on Saturday."