Having been asked to answer a few questions by the folk at the lovely bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk, I sensed a fine opportunity to 1) actually have the energy to write a game preview and 2) recycle some content – very eco.
Out of politeness, of course, I took the opportunity to ask some searching questions of them in return, which went something along the lines of: “So, I assume you’re reasonably happy with how things are going…What’s your predicted line up and score?”
and I think it’ll finish 3-0 to us.
My own humble contribution is as follows, but I really struggled to forsee what team the usually eminently predictable Mick might pick. Am I kidding myself that yesterday might have changed anything?
1. Who are Wolves’ key players?
Stephen Ward, who in most people’s mind has always been a makeshift left back, has been a revelation this season. He’s not had much in the way of a competition from the rest of the team, but has been the one consistent player this season. Unspectacular but excellent.
Jamie O’Hara has got a lot of stick recently – often justifiably as he’s been very careless – but he’s got enthusiasm to burn and, if he gets a chance to play further forward than he has often this season, will be instrumental.
New arrival Roger Johnson will, I suspect, be key one way or the other. Judging by recent form it will be by bungling to let in a goal or two, but we’ll need him to be up to his best to keep the defence tight.
We’ve got a few patchy geniuses in the squad. Milijas, Guedioura and Hammill all have it in them to change games, but Milijas puts in nearly as many anonymous as commanding performances, and the other two are still pretty hit and miss – always wanting the ball, but either great or completely
2. Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
I wouldn’t say happy, but I think it’s sensible. Lacking either the recklessness of other teams or the flowing oil money of others (mentioning no names; brushing chip off shoulder) the amount we spend is always going to be relatively modest. With that in mind, I would still have liked to see at least another quality centre back, but thought we got did well to get Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara. I am getting less happy as the weeks pass though. Johnson and O’Hara both looked excellent buys but neither has played to their potential so far this season.
3. What are your expectations for this season?
Finishing 16th, with a lot of pain and bickering on the way.
4. Are you happy with the manager?
Yes. We’re on a very poor run, and going 2-nil down at home against Swansea was a touch trying at the time but he’s the most successful manager the club has had for more than 30 years. I like him and think he cares as much about winning as anyone, although I do wish he’d shut up moaning about the fans booing him. Not that he’s wrong, just that it’ll only make things worse. It’ll stop soon enough if we win a few games.
5. Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Wolves used to excel at bringing young talent through the academy, but haven’t had done well of late, with Mark Davies at Bolton and Joleon Lescott being the most notable ‘recent’ products We do have a better recent record of improving ‘bargain basement’ players, with the core of the squad – for
better or worse – still composed of the team that won the Championship a few years back. Matt Doherty is the only youngster to make it into the first team of late, and judging by his two appearances this season, could go far. At junior level and now in the reserves, Zele Ismail has been making gentle waves for some time, but he’s a secret and if I told you I’d have to kill
6. If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
There’s quite a choice and we probably wouldn’t be turning any of them down, provided they’re willing to take a little pay cut for the glory of playing for Wolverhampton. I should say David Silva on recent reports but, for sentimental reasons – and because I think our comedy defending of late is
the main reason for the ongoing lack of confidence amoung the team – I have to say Lescott.
7. What is your perception of City as a club?
Obviously a quality bunch of players, and finally looking like gelling as a team, but overriding perception would have to be summarised as “upstart oiks ruining the league (further) for the rest of us with lots of money and being very good”
8. Likely Wolves starting XI for Saturday, and score prediction?
Predicting the score is a scary prospect at the moment. Wednesday was one of the best Wolves performances of the year so however much I want to say we’ll surprise everyone, I think I’d be going out on a limb.
Predicting the Wolves line up is usually very easy: Fans – me among them – will bay for some combination of Milijas, Hammil or Guedioura to start and for a change in defence, but Mick will stick with the same team as last week. This time I think a few players made a good case for a place in the starting line up and we might even see a little bit of a reshuffle. I’ll go (with no confidence this is what we’ll actually see, although surely we won’t play two up front):
Stearman – Johnson – Berra – Ward
Henry – Milijas
Hunt – O’Hara – Jarvis
and wouldn’t be surprised to see Guedioura and Hammil make an appearance.
Hell, I’ll say it anyway – we’ll surprise everyone…
and only lose 2-1. But I always hope for better.
Come on Wolves!