Carrow Road – scene of many classic (by which I mean winning) encounters against the guys in yellow.Â How likely is that to be repeated on Saturday?Â Despite Norwich being the Johnny-come-lately Premiership new boys, they’re odds on favourites to take the win (Football Betting Tips).Â How did this happen?
Circumstances have meant that my last game at Molineux was way back in January against Aston Villa.Â Remember that?Â Despite having only picked up five points in nine games, and despite Berra giving away a stupid penalty, Wolves went in at the break 2-1 up, having played probably their best half of football of the season: Johnson seemed to have remembered how to defend, Kightly was finally showing the skill and drive to remind us why we all used to love him; the loan signing of Frimpong was a masterstroke, and we looked like a team at last.Â 45 minutes, a Henry sending off and two Keane wonderstrikes later, the turn-around-that-might-have-been was over.Â We haven’t looked back since.Â In the seven games since, we’ve picked up one win and one draw and conceded 23 goals.Â Mick is gone and the club has been the subject of open ridicule in the press over the appointment of his successor (in the Mail to cite just one example) and the cracks have been showing further with RJ all over the press for all the wrong reasons.
Is there time for one last go at The Big Turn Around before Wolves sink into oblivion (or the Championship at least)?Â Clearly replacing McCarthy with his head coach was never going to effect this, but is there enough left in the team who were top of the table after three games to drag the club back from the brink of relegation?Â Frimpong is gone from that January line-up, Johnson’s future is even more uncertain under the Connor regime, Ward seems to be faltering and O’Hara’s visibly been playing through an injury for a while and is now finally ruled out officially.Â Fundamentally, the team is certainly not better than the one that survived last season, neither is it worse however.Â Despite some frankly bizarre decisions such as loaning out Guedioura and Hammill, both of whom have been successful impact subs, I’d argue the squad is no worse than Norwich’s.Â The team spirit patently is worse – an issue apparent before Mick’s sacking, but only exacerbated under Connor. The team may be only good enough to scrape Premier League survival, but believing and playing together and at their best, as Mick has had them doing in previous seasons, they could be that.
This season’s dire form is not the fans’ fault, but their reaction to Sunday’s five-nil defeat, holds the key to any chance of survival.Â I believe this marks the turning point where enough Wolves supporters have given up hope, mentally adjusted to the likelihood of being a Championship team next year, and can relax and support the team unconditionally.Â Conversely, this is likely to offer our only chance of starting to pick up results. Even depleted as it is by injury, suspension and management decisions, believing in themselves and playing at their best, they could take a win from this game.Â Let’s not underestimate Norwich of course: They’ve shown exactly what a team in their first season in the big league can achieve if well-managed, but they are coming into the game on the back of no wins in four (beats us, I know, but still…) and realistically the teams were pretty evenly matched at Molineux earlier in the season – or rather each had a good half of a game.
I’m going to assume TC will continue his trajectory of picking the same sort of team that we’ve seen all season (which probably means Stearman back on the right in Zubar’s absense) but I’m a bit bored of it so instead want to share the team I’d like to see:
Foley – Johnson – Bassong – Ward
Kightly – Henry – Milijas – Jarvis
I’m not going to rule out a win, and a win would certainly help to rebuild the team’s fragile confidence, but do I believe?Â Do I really believe?Â Actually, no.Â But I do believe we should support the team whatever happens and keep our fingers crossed, because that’s all there is left to do.