Wolves looking for a 3 point boosterBy: DJ | January 24th, 2013
Well into the second half of the season now and Wolves fans are still waiting for the signs that their club has it in them to make a return to the Premier League in the not too distant future. The prospects of making a late play off bid has virtually been written off for this season now but what is wanted is the signs that Dean Saunders can get the best out of the players at his disposal and produce a climb up the table between now and May that will see some optimism return to the atmosphere by next August.
The lingering depression that hangs over the club is only to be expected after the fall from grace that has happened in the last year or so. When Wolves beat Sunderland at Molineux in the first week of December 2011 they went 3 points ahead of the Black Cats and held a comfortable 16th place in the Premier League with every possibility that they would be able to extend their stay in the top flight for a fourth season. But in the 26 league games at Molineux since that time in the Premier League and Championship there has been little for the home fans to shout about with only 4 successes in that time. So some wins at home are what is needed more than anything to regain some faith and enthusiasm in the supporters and this weekend’s game against Blackpool would be a very good time to start.
Since McCarthy left the club 50 weeks ago the supporters felt let down by the appointment farce that followed with names like Curbishley and Bruce strongly linked with the club before coach Terry Connor was given the thankless task of taking on his first managerial role in a post that even Wolves Chief Exec Jez Moxey had said was not a job for the inexperienced. There was then a fair degree of optimism about what seemed an ambitious and adventurous appointment of Stale Solbakken. But although the Norwegian won most Wolves fans over with his philosophy and intentions, there was never any sign that he was able to implement his bright ideas and the poor results and the mundane performances saw his tenure ended as things were becoming worse rather than better over xmas and the new year. And now, partly because of the unsuccessful previous appointments, the arrival of Dean Saunders on the back of a decent record at Wrexham and Doncaster left many fans underwhelmed. And only results and signs of fight and talent from the players will see him win the fans over.
The opening two games in his charge have seen two draws. The first at home to Blackburn was fairly well received with more energy and pace about the performance although not ultimately the flowing football and goalmouth action. The draw at Sheffield came from a fairly negative and uninspiring performance that has left an impression on many that it will be a battling and cautious style we will see under the new leader. Of course its very early days and its understandable that he would want to build from a sound base, and clean sheets away from home have been thin on the ground for Wolves for many years so there is something to be said for that. But a midfield that included Henry, Davies and Foley, three hard working but uncreative players did little to inspire the punters.
Much of the focus over the next week will be on the transfer window that closes next Thursday. Saunders has a meeting with the Board at 2 on Friday to put forward his plans. He is expected to release a few players to reduce the wage bill from the burden of a list of the best part of 50 professionals on the books. There is certainly scope to reduce the numbers with quite a few that look to have had their time at the club. If sales cannot be generated there may well be subsequent departures on loan. The likes of Berra, Ebanks Blake and Zubar are out of contract in the summer and may be happy to let their contracts run out. But Wolves may look to cash in although Berra and SEB would certainly need replacing with new faces if they left this month. There are others in Stearman, Jonsson, Hunt and Hamill that also may be seen surplus to requirements.
In terms of new faces the latest name linked is Villa full back Stephen Warnock who may come in on loan because Ward is the only experienced and fit left back at the club now. A centre back may also be brought in together with a new striker. But what we are still waiting for is a run of fitness for the summer signings by Solbakken in Peszko, Sigurdarson, Boukari, Doumbia and Magreitter. The jury is still out on all of them given their lack of action so far. Doumbia was the star man in the first 6 weeks of the season while Peszko and Sigurdarson have shown glimmers of ability. So it might still be the case that Solbakken at least leaves a legacy of a few talented signings.
But in the very short term then its 3 points against Blackpool that is what the doctor is ordering. The seasiders are currently managerless with Michael Appleton having gone to Blackburn after less than two months at Bloomfield Road. After a bright start to the season things have not been going well since August and Blackpool have become the draw experts of the division with 11 in their last 19 games. They now sit in 15th place in the league and Wolves will go above them with a win. The last 8 meetings between the teams at Molineux has seen 7 Wolves wins and one draw and there has been only one Blackpool success in the last 17 meetings home and away.
So the scene is set for an overdue home win for Wolves that is badly needed to lift everyone’s spirits and then suddenly Saunders would be unbeaten in three, the climb up the table will have begun and with a new signing or two next week, there may yet be some optimism emerging as the snow melts in the West Midlands.