Nottingham Forest 1 Wolves 1

What do Dimitri Payet, Mesut Ozil and Dave Edwards have in common?

Forest Wolves

If an answer doesn’t immediately come to mind then you’re forgiven as there is a rather blatant gulf in class between our number four and the diminutive playmakers of West Ham and Arsenal.

Nonetheless, Deadly Dave now stars in a rendition of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ to match those belonging to his altogether more celebrated contemporaries.

It’s taken us eight years to come up with a song for the amiable Welshman and it’s fitting that a ditty has been found in this most dispiriting of seasons.

For all his endeavour, Edwards is an ordinary footballer and, whilst the dedication he shows on the pitch is fully deserving of appreciation from the terraces, it’s a tad depressing to think that we were hailing the trio of Dicko, Afobe and Sako during our last visit to the City Ground.

Still, we have long come to accept the reality of our situation under the M&M regime and the ordinariness of yesterday’s performance is therefore a far less bitter pill to swallow.

The first half was tedium on a par with the Rotherham game and, though we started the second half well, it was one way traffic after the break, with Carl Ikeme once again ensuring we escaped with a point in tact.

To put an optimist’s spin on things, Joe Mason put in his best performance for the club since signing and Dominic Iorfa was again imperious at centre back.

It was refreshing to hear Kenny Jackett talk in the week about building the team around Iorfa and I certainly hope that the board will support him in rejecting any offers for him from Premier League clubs.

Were there players of Iorfa’s ilk available throughout the rest of the team, I’d be looking to next season with optimism.

But the fact is that, even with the much missed Dicko and Graham to return, we are an average team and another season of mid table obscurity beckons without considerable investment being made.

I think we’ll all be glad to see the back of the 2015/2016 campaign and I just hope that KJ uses the summer to recharge his batters and refresh his approach because I’ve been totally bewildered by his tactics over the last few weeks. James Henry at number 10 and George Saville on the left is not a recipe for success at any level of football.

At least watching Nottingham Forest is a reminder that we are not the only set of supporters clinging to memories of better times.

Those times will come again, though when is anyone’s guess.

Nottingham Forest Vs Wolves Preview

Fortunately, scoring goals away from the barren wasteland that is Molineux hasn’t been a problem.

Wolves Forest

But unfortunately, letting them in has been.

Our last cleansheet was at the Mad Stad at the start of February and we didn’t even win. You can guess the score if you can’t remember it.

No fair really. Why do all these other teams get to escape the banquet of boredom?

For added misery this fixture will act as another timely reminder of our team’s demise, with Afobe and Sako both resplendent in last season’s victory at the City Ground.

Roll on the summer.

Forest

Nottingham_Forest_logo.svgThe Trees have been hand holding Wolves in the middle third of the table for most of the season and look to be treading water.

It seemed a touch harsh to give Dougie Freedman the push, given the various issues he had to contend with – injuries, embargoes, etc.

Paul Williams is in temporary charge until the end of the season and it will be interesting to see who they end up with. Maybe they’ll be one of the clubs rivaling Rotherham for Neil Warnock’s services? They probably should be.

Britt Assombalonga is close to regaining full fitness and he’ll be an asset for them if he gets a good pre-season under his belt before the next campaign.

Their home form reads won 7, drawn 7, lost 8, scored 24, conceded 25 so it’s textbook inconsistency. Like looking in a mirror.

Wolves

Kenny might as well keep experimenting, but realistically three or four new bodies are needed in the attacking third to give us any hope for next season.

Team for Rotherham

Here’s eleven players, but who knows whether any or all of them will play? Does anyone even care? It’s tough to feel enthusiastic about the team whoever gets a game at present.

Deslandes, Hunte and Enobakhare are all worth a start, but I’d definitely like to see Jed Wallace get a mini run in these two remaining fixtures. He was bright in his cameo last weekend.

Dave Edwards was, save for one bad miss, anonymous against Rotherham, but probably remains our greatest goal threat as the forwards continue to starve.

Le Fondre, Siggy, Mason – none of them are good enough. Clear out and start again.

Predictions

The most likely outcome is probably a draw, so that’s what I’m going with.

And yeah, what else is there to say?

1-1

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 0 Rotherham United 0

I think it was about 1994 when someone discovered the goal in front of the North Bank was too big and the crossbar had to be lowered by several inches.

Mason

But not before Neil Emblen and Robbie Dennison had both delivered postage stamps to secure some ill-gotten points.

Maybe Kenny and co should consider redeploying this tactic against Sheffield Wednesday in a fortnight?

Or just play Kevin McDonald.

Either would be acceptable to an increasingly apathetic home crowd who’ve taken to cheering every shot on target as the drought continues unabated.

Four consecutive nil nils is a phenomenon. Has it ever happened before (anywhere)? Will it ever happen again?

Today’s history makers were guiltier of wasting chances than failing to create them as Joe Mason twice, Dave Edwards and George Saville all fluffed their lines.

And Carl Ikeme was enough to prevent Rotherham ending the goalless sequence as the minutes slipped away on our Redrow wrist-strap scoreboard.

Kenny Jackett said afterwards he’d exhausted all available options, which seems questionable considering he only deployed one substitute and again overlooked Kevin McDonald – who hasn’t played a single minute in any of the four stalemates.

Whatever your persuasion when it comes to our head coach, it’s impossible not to share the frustration of the masses at his current tactical oversights.

One switch that did work was moving Dominic Iorfa into the middle alongside Danny Batth. His attributes are more suited to a central role and he was comfortable in there today.

Bright Enobokhare and Sylvan Deslandes showed great potential and also their inexperience and lack of physical strength in up and down performances. Both should come back better next season.

Collectively, there was some better approach play but that too often broke down in the final third where quality and a killer instinct were both absent.

Joe Mason isn’t the man to put your house on, proven by his failure to convert any of the three one-on-one situations he’s faced this week.

There’s no lack of movement or enthusiasm, but I don’t see him ever finishing on a consistent enough basis or making goals for himself in the way Nouha Dicko so often has.

Drawing another blank today in a fixture that has seen 15 goals shared out in the two previous seasons is a fitting indicator of how significantly the landscape has shifted on and off the pitch.

Molineux is barren and patience is in equally short supply.

Wolves Vs Rotherham United Preview

Like most of you, I don’t agree with some of the choices Kenny Jackett is making.

Edwards Rotherham

Kevin McDonald’s continued omission being chief among them (although I think there’s something else going on there).

But I do think because the football is ugly, people take for granted the things he has done right.

Before the Derby game, I felt there was a real threat we could get dragged right down if things continued to deteriorate.

We were paper thin and blown away at Brentford, offering little as an attacking force too. So to me what he did next made total sense i.e. shutting up shop.

The points we accumulated got us over the line, so I don’t think anyone can categorically say this was the wrong move. And actually, with the players he had, I thought this was smart.

More over I think he would play attacking football if he had the players to do it. In fact we know this because he did it for the two years the preceded this one.

Rotherham

Rotherham_United_FCNo questions are being asked of Neil Warnock, that’s for sure. What a fantastic job he’s done in a short period of time.

They’re undefeated in their last 10 matches, which includes six wins. That sequence has transported them from dead and buried to comfortably safe. Only Brighton have done better in the same period.

As Kenny is always saying, they’ve built a platform by only conceding 0s and 1s, but unlike Wolves, they’ve managed to get ahead in games and score goals.

Fortunately we were able to visit the New York Stadium earlier in the season before they’d got their act together and before Jordan Graham’s injury curtailed our aspirations.

I believe Warnock’s contract is up at the end the season so surely they’ll be begging him to carry on next season? If they don’t, they’re mad.

Wolves

Sounded pretty dire against Leeds, but we could have taken a point if Joe Mason had been more clinical in front of goal.

Team for Rotherham

George Saville did score and a tidy finish it was. I think there’s still mixed opinion on the former Chelsea man, but he’s had a good run of games now and certainly scored some important goals.

I’d like to see a few changes in the midfield though to try different combinations. Coady and Wallace for Saville and Helan is one idea. Obviously I’d love to see McDonald involved but that looks increasingly like wishful thinking.

Le Fondre played against his former club in the earlier fixture and KJ said he was influenced by that, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him involved from the start tomorrow.

The gaffer

Predictions

Rotherham are looking formidable of late and you wouldn’t back us to be the first team to beat them in a while on current form.

But I think we’re overdue a good home performance and I’ve just got a feeling we might get something out of our senior players tomorrow.

Given that we don’t score at home these days and Rotherham hardly concede, I’ll go for the only winning margin that makes sense.

1-0

Up The Wolves!

Leeds United 2 Wolves 1

And so this season brings yet another ignominy.

Leeds away

Losing to Leeds twice may not be chief amongst the sins we have borne witness to this campaign but it is jarring nonetheless.

Though the margin of this defeat suggests otherwise, feedback from Elland Road suggests we were well beaten by Steve Evans’ side.

For me, this season has reached a nadir comparable with Glenn Hoddle’s ill fated tenure as manager.

Our style of play is certainly every bit as directionless as it was for the majority of the 2005/06 campaign.

And whilst we have now pored over Kevin McDonald’s omission from first team proceedings for what seems an age, it’s a topic that’s nigh on impossible to ignore when the team is so destitute in attack.

The Scot hasn’t had a vintage year but remains our most creative outlet and is surely worthy of restoration to the team, irrespective of where his long term future lies.

I’ll neglect Kenny Jackett’s illogical persistence with Bjorn Sigurdarson up front as it seems folly to do so when his immediate rivals for a first team berth are doing so little to displace him.

With no clarity on next year’s budget forthcoming from our board – a reality which is hilariously ironic given the name of our new sponsor – it appears the burden on Nouha Dicko’s shoulders will be plentiful next season.

I found it disappointing to see Dominic Iorfa return to right back after having the best game of his difficult sophomore season against Hull.

I appreciate that Danny Batth is our captain but, with only four games left to contest prior to kick-off and diddly squat left to play for, it’d have been nice to see KJ give Friday’s partnership an extended trial.

Still, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this season is that our Head Coach is a man that certainly knows his own mind.

It’s just a shame he’s not so sure about his best team.

Leeds United Vs Wolves Preview

The first meeting between these two sides back in December was an astonishing game.

Leeds celebrate

Wolves totally dominated the first forty minutes but failed to take their chances, then Leeds steamrollered us for the next half hour like I’ve never seen before and won the day.

Sam Byram scored twice and we never got to grips with him, so I’m thankful he’s since sodded off to West Ham.

We could (realistically) finish as high as 11th or as low as 17th and although it ultimately matters little, a top half finish would be my preference.

Leeds

leeds01Like Wolves, Leeds have had a few surges dotted around the season but never performed with enough consistency to threaten the top six.

Steve Evans is always good entertainment and I think if they keep him around for a while he could make them competitive in the top half.

But their owner remains trigger happy and after a recent run of bad results Evans’ neck was seemingly on the block. He survived then but you wonder whether he’ll last the summer?

They come into this match on the back of a couple of wins, one of which was a last gasp victory over Reading at the weekend.

Our old mate Chris Wood scored twice on Saturday, but looked toothless at Molineux earlier in the campaign.

Wolves

I reckon Kenny Jackett wishes he had Chris Wood right now given that his forwards look incapable of scoring.

Wolves team for Leeds

To me it’s the one position we look weakest. Say what you like about strikers not getting chances, but I’ve got to believe Nouha Dicko would have done better.

With Dave Edwards still on the road to recovery I wonder whether he’ll be spared the midweek exertion? That could open the door for Joe Mason.

Helan and Henry would be my first choice wide players for the remaining games, unless Connor Hunte is considered ready to start.

I imagine Danny Batth will return if he’s recovered from illness, but I’d like to see the same back four given another go.

The gaffer

Predictions

I’ll go for a score draw. Leeds aren’t great at Elland Road this season (their home record is worse than ours) and I saw enough against Hull to suggest we’ll do alright.

That said, we’re hardly full of goals and that will always hold us back, regardless of how solid we are defensively.

1-1.

Up The Wolves!