Wolves now face trip to ColchesterBy: DJ | October 3rd, 2013
Wolves travel to Colchester on Saturday looking to maintain their push towards the automatic promotion positions in League One. Its the tenth league game of the season and with only one defeat so far its all looking promising in terms of the target of a fast return to the Championship. No team in the division has conceded less than Wolves and only three teams have scored more and that’s a recipe for success that the club will be looking to build on in the coming weeks.
In many ways the most impressive aspect of the early season is the impressive defensive record. 6 goals conceded in 9 games is a major improvement on what Wolves have been used to for quite a few years and the new manager must take credit for getting the team organised well enough to achieve 4 clean sheets, 4 games with one goal conceded and just the one game with two conceded. He put the faith in Carl Ikeme in goal and he has produced regular good performances and some impressive saves. Doherty looks set to make the right back position his own and Ricketts has been a steady addition firstly as a full back and more recently in the centre back position that he evidently now prefers. Scott Golbourne has come in at left back and had his best game so far last Saturday at Molineux, while Stearman played centre back early season and was probably unlucky to lose his starting position.
But the defender attracting all the attention is Danny Batth who Wolves fans are already comparing to the likes of Joleon Lescott and Dean Richards as an excellent central defensive prospect. Its hard to imagine him having a poor game and if he keeps working at his game there is no reason why he cant be as successful in the game as Lescott and Richards. But firstly what all Wolves fans would like to see is him put his name on the dotted line of a new contract as his current one runs out next summer.
The midfield has come in for some criticism at times this season but I think Kenny Jackett has got things wrong at times by playing a narrow style that constrains the options for passing as there is little space and width. But when things have opened up into a more attacking 4-4-2 formation then Wolves look to have the ammunition to outpoint any team at this level. And the signing this week of James Henry from Millwall on loan adds to the options for width on the right and he may well make his first start on Saturday.
Meanwhile Bakary Sako has been the subject of much speculation over a move to Nottingham Forest on loan initially, and then permanently in January. But that deal seems to have fallen through now much to the delight of most Wolves supporters. Sako is a bit of an enigma and at times does more things wrong than right and offers little help to the team defensively. But his goalscoring and record of assists since he joined the club has been excellent and I for one will put up with his shortcomings if he keeps up those important moments that were no better displayed than last weekend with his set up of the first goal for Griffiths and then hit a stunning late goal.
What was also evident last weekend was that the attacking pairing must be Griffiths and Doyle when fit. The game was transformed when Doyle came on from the bench and his movement off the ball and ability to collect the ball to feet and drift past players meant Wolves suddenly found space when there didn’t appear to be any in the first half. And its no coincidence at all that every one of Leigh Griffiths’ 5 goals this season have come when he has been playing with Doyle.
Saturday’s opponents Colchester are smack in the middle of League One in 13th place with 11 points from their first 9 games. They won their first two league games of the season away at Gillingham and at home to Port Vale but haven’t won since although they have drawn the last three. Wolves and Colchester have only met 10 times before. The first occasions were in the sad old days when Wolves were in League 4 in 1986/87. Both teams won the home meetings but when they met again at the end of the season in the Play Off Semi finals, Wolves prevailed 2-0 on aggregate but then lost the play off finals to Aldershot. So the teams met again in League 4 the following season with Wolves winning home and away. Both teams had progressed to the Championship by the time they met next in 2006/07 when again it was one win each and then Wolves did the double the following season. So its 6 wins and 2 draws for Wolves in the 10 meetings. Saturday will be Wolves first visit to the new Weston Homes Community Stadium that Colchester moved into at the start of the 2008/09 season.
So Wolves will be searching for 3 more points to keep the pressure on Orient and Peterborough at the top of the league in what will be their last league game for a couple of weeks with the scheduled away game at Carlisle on October 12th having been postponed to November 5th due to international call ups. So the next three games will all be at Molineux with the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game against Notts County on October 8th followed by home league games against Coventry on the 19th and Oldham on the 22nd. After all that Wolves will hopefully be in an even stronger position than they currently are if current form can just be maintained.