Wolves defender Richard Stearman has joined struggling Championship rivals Ipswich on loan until the end of the season.
The 25-year-old has been reunited with former Molineux boss Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor after Ipswich refused to pay the £1.8m fee for a permanent move.
Wolverhampton-born Stearman, who has 18 months left on his contract, has slipped down the pecking order at Molineux under Stale Solbakken and Dean Saunders.
The former Leicester man was an unused substitute for the last three games before failing to make the 18 for Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Blackpool.
His departure has eased the logjam of right-sided defenders at Wolves and, coming at a time when Roger Johnson faces a three-match ban for his sending off on Saturday, suggests Danny Batth is finally closing in on a Championship start for the club.
McCarthy pursued Stearman again after allowing right-back Bradley Orr to return to Blackburn following a loan spell.
Stearman has made 142 appearances for Wolves since signing from Leicester for around £1.6m in June 2008.
He was a regular in the Championship title-winning season of 2008-09 at centre-back and won England Under-21 caps, but apart from a stint at the heart of the defence under Connor last season, has been used mainly at right-back since.
Stearman made 15 appearances for Wolves this season, the last of which came in the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day, Solbakken’s last league game in charge.
He could make his Ipswich debut against Middlesbrough at Portman Road on Saturday.
Stearman said today: “I have obviously worked under Mick and TC (Terry Connor) before and that was a big factor in me coming here. Once I knew I was wanted down here at Portman Road, I jumped at it. I know a few of the lads already so it was nice to see a few familiar friendly faces this morning. I have not played as much football as I would have liked this season so the opportunity to come here and play games made it an easy decision. It’s frustrating when you work all week and then have to sit on the bench or in the stands on a Saturday afternoon. Footballers want to be out there playing and I’m no different. I’m looking forward to my time here and hopefully helping Ipswich get some points on the board.”