Wolves in warm up modeBy: DJ | July 17th, 2012
Rumour has it that the English summer is set for a turn for the better and Wolves will also now be turning up the heat on their preparations for the 2012/13 season. The players set off this week for a trip to Southern Ireland for a week long training camp that will include their first pre season friendly with a game at Bray Wanderers on Saturday. For the players this will be their first real chance to find out what new manager Stale Solbakken and his coach Johan Lange are all about. And for Stale its a first chance to see the players he has inherited as he looks to stamp his own approach on the club.
The new manager will I am sure look to focus on the team conceding fewer goals. During his time with Copenhagen where he achieved great success his team always averaged less than one goal a game conceded as they became the best team in Scandinavia. He showed the ability to manage at a high level by guiding Copenhagen to the latter stages of the Champions League for the only time in their history and in his last season with the Danish team they not only proved hard to score against but were also averaging more than 2 goals a game scored as they lost only one game on the way to becoming Champions of Denmark for the 4th time in his 5 years as their manager.
So far Wolves have only lost one player from last season’s squad with reserve player Mendez Laing moving to Peterborough, although Jody Craddock is now out of contract and has not joined the party on the Irish trip. The likes of Fletcher and Jarvis are constantly being linked with other clubs but the mass exodus that many feared looks like it will not happen, although a few outgoings do look inevitable. But at the moment the squad has been increased with strikers Bjorn Bergmann Siguardarsen and Frank Nouble and young centre back James Tank having signed. And it looks like another centre back will be next on the additions with Real Sociedad centre back Vadim Demidov set to sign. The Latvian born Norwegian international (photoed playing for Norway against England recently) is also wanted by German club Eintracht Frankfurt and is in the last year of a contract that he has stated he will not renew. He looks like a victim of the club’s wish to have more home grown Basque players in their squad and will cost Wolves in the region of £1m.
For the trip to Ireland, the Wolves squad will ironically be without their Irish trio of Doyle, Ward and Hunt as they are given holiday time after their Euro 2012 participation and also without Guerdioura who has been playing for Algeria, and who is linked with a move to Nottingham Forest where he spent time last season on loan. Michael Kightly did not travel as he has now become a father for the first time.
The squad includes three keepers with Dorus De Vries and Carl Ikeme expected to be battling out to become first choice in the absence of the injured Hennessey until November. Young keeper Aaron McCarey is also in the squad. Defensively we have the usual names of Foley, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Johnson and Elokobi. They will be joined by youngsters Matt Doherty, a right back who had some loan time at Hibernian last season, left back Jamie Reckord who was loaned to Scunthorpe, and Danny Batth who had a highly successful spell helping Sheffield Wednesday to promotion and is tipped to make a mark at Molineux this season.
In midfield there are the established players in Henry. O’Hara, Jarvis, Edwards, Milijas, Hamill and Jonsson who are joined by youngsters David Davis and Anthony Forde who both made first team breakthroughs in the second half of last season. Then up front Fletcher, Ebanks Blake and Vokes are joined by new men Siguardarsen and Nouble.
I am travelling over to Ireland for the weekend and will report on the Bray game which is the first of the build up games towards the new season. The friendlies on home soil are at Walsall on July 28th, Shrewsbury July 31st, and Southampton August 4th. Then it’s Aldershot at Molineux on August 11th in the first round of the League Cup before the first Championship game of the new season at Leeds on August 18th at 12:45.
The next month will be interesting to see if we can spot what differences we will see in the Wolves style of play under Solbakken and there will doubtless a few comings and goings in the transfer market. But in the short term its an overdue live football fix by the seaside just south of Dublin on Saturday, and maybe a glass or two of Guiness to follow.