Wolves open the Molineux doors againBy: DJ | August 10th, 2012
Wolves launch their new season at Molineux on Saturday with a League Cup tie against Aldershot. And what their fans would love to see for the first time in 2012 is a win for Wolves on their home ground. The last 13 games at Molineux have seen 11 away wins and 2 draws and we have to go all the way back to the first weekend of December 2011 for the last Wolves success when two late Steven Fletcher goals saw them beat Sunderland.
Ever since relegation and the subsequent appointment of Solbakken as manager we have known this was going to be a summer of change for Wolves, and it’s looking like things might all feel very different by the end of August. Some new faces on the management and coaching side, new players arriving, quite a few leaving, and a style of play that we are all waiting to find out about.
There s little doubt that the Scandinavian manager will be very different to the Yorkshireman come Irishman he replaced. He has already brought with him a fellow kinsman to the coaching side in young tactician Johan Lange. And there are new players too. Sigurdarsen, Nouble, Doumbia and this week Polish midfield player Peszko. Meanwhile the exit door has seen the departure of Vokes. Mendez Laing, Guedioura and most recently Michael Kightly. No surprise if there are quite a few more comings and goings before the transfer window closes on September 3rd.
Surprisingly the new faces have not included any strengthening of a defensive line that were shipping goals for fun last season. The absence of Hennessey until at least October weakens the defence compared to last season and 2nd choice De Vries is still being hunted by Liverpool. So the door may be open for Ikeme to get a game on Saturday behind a back line that is the most predictable part of the line up with Zubar, Stearman, Johnson and Ward looking like getting the nod, with Berra now transfer listed.
The heart of the midfield is likely to have a solid look with Henry, reinstated as captain for the day at least, and David Davis providing plenty of cover ahead of the defence. Tongo Doumbia will be set for his debut in midfield while Jarvis is fit and will start on the left. In attack there’s a choice between Doyle, Sigurdarsen, Nouble and Ebanks Blake and I suspect the first two will start.
Speculation continues as to whether the star attractions in the transfer market, Fletcher and Jarvis will still be here when the transfer window closes. I will be very surprised if they are but Wolves are certainly digging in to attract the best possible deal for them and an income of over £20m for the pair looks achievable. The club has been well run financially under the Morgan and Moxey reign and with TV revenue going to be £40m lower than last season it would be a surprise if income wasn’t secured to offset that loss, even though contractual agreements to reduce most players salaries by 50% following relegation will also contribute.
As for the opposition on Saturday, Aldershot finished midway in League 2 last season and they are managed by the former Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth. They have played Wolves 6 times before with Wolves getting 4 successes. But the two Aldershot successes were the important ones as they won home and away in the Division 4 play offs in 1987. This is the 2nd season running that Aldershot have been drawn away in the first round of the League Cup to the team that finished bottom of the Premier League. And last year they won at West Ham.
So it will be good to get back into the swing of things and see some football at the home ground. And for me it will be a first visit to the new North Bank as I join the baptism of the Upper Tier. It would do the manager, players and supporters a lot of good if the season can get off to to a successful start, and hopefully that can lay the foundation for a good season.