Wolves 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

Amongst the muck and nettles of Championship football nothing fits better than Wellington boots.

Johnson Blackburn

Unlike his predecessor that’s exactly what Dean Saunders is – appropriate footwear.

And you sense this group of players are more comfortable trudging through the fields than attempting to glide across them.

The new manager’s first team selection was somehow bold and cautious.

Bold for bringing Ronald Zubar in from the cold and handing a league debut to Jake Cassidy.

Cautious for a midfield selection that favoured hard graft over guile and craft.

Featuring a full back and two holding players, it was little surprise the approach was labored and sluggish.

Only Bakary Sako offered any sort of incision, too often fending off the challenges or galloping into space, only to find an absence of available options.

Doyle and Cassidy got the ball quicker as promised, but that usually meant chasing hopeful punts and lost causes.

Still, the appetite had returned and Blackburn were nearly swept away by a wave of enthusiasm and commitment.

But the crippling frailties remain. For all the hurrying and hassling, loose passes and indecision continually invite the opposition in.

From Ikeme’s misplaced pass to Ward’s needless foul and Sako’s lazy hanging leg, Rovers were gifted the initiative.

Huff and puff was eventually rewarded with the much-needed sprinkle of quality Jamie O’Hara’s left boot provided.

Roger Johnson isn’t everyone’s idea of a hero, but that’s the second time this season he’s saved the day, always looking the only likely candidate to connect.

The agricultural point was a deserved one and although the football was often as ugly as a farmer’s wife, Molineux approved.

And for the first time in while, it felt comfortable under foot.

Wolves Vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

You can’t fail to notice the similarities between Wolves and Blackburn, particularly since the end of last season.

Jordan Rhodes

Both relegated from the Premiership. Both failing miserably to come to terms with life in the Championship. Both sacked their Norwegian managers in the last month.

It’s almost funny.

Blackburn have done well since disposing of Henning Berg, winning all three matches under caretaker boss Gary Bowyer.

As I write this, Michael Appleton is in for talks. That would be strange appointment all round. Why they’d want an unproven manager and why he’d push for the move are both baffling questions. If it does go ahead, I’ll wait with interest to hear what they say.

Despite the ongoing pantomime at Ewood Park, they retain a nucleus of good players and in Jordan Rhodes, a striker whose star continues to rise. He has 13 goals to date.

Rovers might be sitting just four points above us, but they’ve lost considerably fewer matches – 8 in total compared to Wolves’ 13. They’ve drawn 7 of their 13 away matches, easily the most in the league.


Dean Saunders has been quick to make himself heard since arriving in town on Monday. His approach is in stark contrast to his predecessor but you can’t help be impressed by his feisty, no-nonsense attitude. Recent performances have smacked of ill-discipline and you sense he’ll kick that into touch.

The team he puts out tomorrow will be fascinating. I have no idea what he’ll do, so this is the team I’d put out:

Wolves team for Blackburn

Don’t know if Siggy is back yet and don’t know if O’Hara is fit enough, but we need more attacking intent, particularly at home. We never even looked like scoring against Ipswich.

Saunders has spoken about the importance of working as a team, so it will be interesting to see how he uses a maverick like Sako, if at all. Will others that have been out of favour get a look in?


46 of you got the outcome correct against Palace, so it’s an avalanche of PL points for me to update. If less of you could get it right in this one, I’d be appreciative.

Well done to Exeter Wolf, Tettenhall Wolf, Ledbury Lupus, carl wolves, Raydewolf, mick the wolf and johnok who all got the 3-1 scoreline correct and doubled up. A single point for everyone else.

Pick a score, any score for this one.

Blackburn have done well of late, but we’re overdue a decent home performance and I think Saunders will get a response.


Up The Wolves.

Blackburn Rovers 0 Wolves 1

The more this intriguing season twists and turns, the more the mind wonders back to another belligerent side we grew to adore.

Take Sak!

As we hung on for a wonderful away day in Blackburn, it was hard not to think of the embryonic outfit Mick McCarthy assembled in 2006.

Unfashionable, uncompromising and unshakable in the very games that most expected us to lose.

After a sobering Crystal Palace home reversal followed by injuries to Peszko, Doyle and Sigurdason, many would have taken a point at Ewood Park today, just like they would have six years ago in a game at Leeds United.

In equally emphatic style on the other side of the Pennines this time, Bakary Sako was imitating Jay Bothroyd with an absolute belter late in the game to seal three points that no team will work harder for this weekend.

As unpredictable as he is unstoppable, the Frenchman’s cult status grows at a speed proportionate to his Exocet that snorted past Danny Murphy’s nose.

We all know where our 2006 vintage finished come 46 games and with Solbakken working with this battle scarred squad – beset by injuries at that – we’d surely grab a fifth placed finish again if offered it now?

If we can eek out results like this until Christmas and give Stale some meaningful cash to spend in January, then maybe we can aim higher still?

Ewood Panorama

With our Norwegian leader bereft of all but two of his summer signings today, every ounce of his nous was needed to record an away triumph, not to mention a clean sheet with a defence so porous before his arrival.

We appeared to be the side doing all the pressing in the first half and were thoroughly good value for the 0-0 half time score.

Had Ebanks-Blake not headed against a post from six yards when unmarked, it could have been even better.

The second half bore the hallmarks of a home side being scolded for not grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.

Time and again Rovers pressed, only for Johnson and Berra to repel the bombardment with braveheart defiance.

And just when we were being pushed to the point of breaking point, an overhit back pass presented us with an unlikely corner.

When it eventually fell to the royal boot of our Saint Etienne hero, a Skud was dispatched to seal our 17th, 18th and 19th points of the season.

That’s four more than 2006 if memory serves.

Player ratings

Our new signing David Warrington, who hasn’t missed a single Wolves game since 1995 is now offering weekly player ratings from each game (out of 10), starting with our glorious Ewood Park victory, so over to Dave:

Carl Ikeme 7
What he did he did well, no saves to make so that means a seven.

Richard Stearman 7
Injury summed up game – committed and brave. Subbed.

Stephen Ward 7
Steady performance. Calm.

Christophe Berra 9
Man of the Match! Loved his tussle with Rhodes, flawless game.

Roger Johnson 8
Just pipped by Berra. Huge game, won everything.

Kevin Foley 7
Played in 3 positions and assured in each one (R/B, R/M and C/M).

Karl Henry 7
So important to us. Kasim-Richards got him booked after shoving him in face!

Tongo Doumbia 7
Looks to be carrying a knock but good. Played more advanced role.

David Davis 7
Good first half but faded.

Bakary Sako 7
His goal was brilliant, worth an 8 alone, but going on his general play.

Sylvan Ebanks Blake 7
Should have scored in first half but worked his socks off alone.


Anthony Forde 6
Could have scored twice, should have squared to Zubar to win 2-0.

Ronald Zubar 5
Kept giving the ball away. Shadow of old Zubar

Danny Batth
Protected back 4 when coming on, couple of good clearances. No mark as only on a couple of mins.

Blackburn Rovers Vs Wolves Preview

As timing goes, Wolves probably couldn’t have picked a worse moment to visit Ewood Park.

Stalemate at the City Ground

With Steve Kean (finally) heading through the exit door last week, it’s estimated an extra 2,000 home supporters will pack the stands.

That sort of positive energy is sure to have an influence on the Blackburn players, so it’s a big test for Wolves.

Level with us on points and goal difference, Rovers too will feel reasonably satisfied with their start to the season, even if things have gone a little sour in recent weeks.

Jordan Rhodes is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue this season and he’s continued to find the net regularly since moving from Huddersfield for big money. Nullifying his threat will be key.

In Danny Murphy, Scott Dann and Paul Robinson, the spine of their team remains experienced and strong, particularly at this level. They named David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pederson amongst their substitutes in last night’s nil nil draw with Forest. Not many Championship sides can boast that sort of depth.


As always seems to be the case, when a winning run comes to an end for Wolves it comes at great expense. Losing Peszko for over a month is a huge blow, particularly with Razak Boukari and Stephen Hunt also out.

How Ståle attempts to address this problem on Saturday will be very interesting indeed. This would be the team I’d hope to see from the players available:

OK, so not the most imaginative of solutions slotting Dave Edwards in down the right, but we’re not blessed with options.

He’s played there before many times and away from home he can certainly do a good job. We know he gets up and down the pitch well and in tandem with Foley, I’d feel reasonably secure.

I think this game will ultimately come down to how well Wolves can defend. I’m fairly certain we’ll score, but I expect them to give our back four a thorough examination.

Henry and Doumbia as always will be central to our fortunes. I didn’t think they influenced Tuesday’s match in the same way they have done in recent weeks. Hoping for better on Saturday.

Opposition view

Thanks to my good friend and Blackburn fan James Tomlinson, for providing the following:

We face Wolves on Saturday with a resurgent sense of belief, the first home game without Steve Kean in charge is sure to bring some of the Rovers faithful back through the Ewood Park gates. With the exception of the manager situation there should be no cause for complaint, we are sitting in the play-offs and have had some decent results. OK we’ve had to claw back to get them but that shows fighting spirit, when we get the ball on the floor and out wide we look good and can create a host of chances.

Wolves are a tough team, having won their last four league matches before the home defeat to Crystal Palace, they are also right in the mix and I expect them to be all the way through this season. They have installed a solid manager and he’s getting them playing decent football. My only worry for us is the defence, it’s our weakest point, loss of concentration and any opposition player with pace and we are in trouble. We have a decent strike pairing in Rhodes and Gomes and given half a chance they will find the net no problems.

The atmosphere is going to be key to this game, no Kean should bring a lot of noise and the team will feed off that, so I am expecting a tough game but we’ll take three points.

Verdict 2-1 Rovers!


Slim pickings for Prediction League points after the defeat to Palace. Most people, including me, backed us for the win.

4 people said we’d lose though and 3 of them got the correct scoreline. So well done to carl wolves, Haywood wolf and Robertsbridgewolf for doubling up. Ash K takes a single.

Apologies to Timberwolf who said we’d either lose 2-1 or draw. Unfortunately, making two predictions does make your entry null and void. Sorry matey, but I have to be fair.

This weekend, I think we’ll get edged out.

It’s bad timing for us in terms of injuries and coming off the back of a defeat to Palace. They’ll be up for it in front of a bigger crowd too.

2-1 Rovers. Hope I’m wrong.

Up The Wolves.

Wolves 0 Blackburn 2

Disastrous isn’t the only word you could use to describe this latest Molineux mishap.

But it is perhaps the adjective that best underlines how epic a blow this was to our already slim chances of survival.

In fact, as Wolves continue their gradual descent to the bottom of the table you’re tempted to say the game is up.

Cut down again at home

Quite simply, if this is the best TC can get out of the group, we’re spent.

Even as the muted action ebbed and flowed in the first half, it seemed momentum was always flowing towards the opposition as our fragile confidence continued to ebb away.

Promising forward moves were continually halted by misplaced passes – mostly from Stephen Ward – as our attacking was all too familiarly toothless.

It was again only at two goals down that Wolves even showed any sort of appetite to attack.

And when the chances did arrive in the dying embers they were all fluffed high, wide and handsome.

Robinson made one save all game, which is frightening when you consider he hasn’t kept a cleansheet all season – prior to yesterday.

Defensively, it was a modicum better.

Bassong for Berra was a notable improvement and the on-loan Spurs man showed a little of the class we hoped for.

But in Junior Hoilett, Blackburn possess a player with the sort of confidence and cutting edge we can only dream of.

The Canadian gobbled up two half chances to put his side in firm control and once the game was stretched, there was only one winner.

David Davis certainly shouldn’t be remembered for a notable error at either end of the pitch after a tenacious, largely competent display on his Premier League debut.

He got around the pitch and was the only midfielder who put tackles in all afternoon. Whether or not it was the right decision to throw him straight in remains debatable.

Matt Jarvis is still our only route to goal.

Why we stopped feeding him the ball out wide when he clearly had the beating of his full-back all afternoon is anybody’s guess.

He seemed to drift inside for long periods, which I simply can’t fathom. It renders him totally ineffective.

Doyle out wide is a massive no-no for me. What does he possibly offer in that position?

Granted, Kightly was poor after his introduction but I’d much prefer a natural wide player from the start.

Speaking of which, how long is it until we can get Adam Hammill back I wonder? With Hunt injured, it must be done as a matter of urgency.

That, at the very least, may go some small way to appeasing a despondent and incensed home crowd.

And whilst of course I certainly don’t condone some of the things we’re hearing that took place after the final whistle yesterday, you can understand the frustration.

It’s all very well the chairman, the CEO, the manager and the players calling for unity, but a string of baffling off-the-field decisions have all contributed to what we’re seeing on the pitch and the division that’s evident throughout the club.

Most worrying for all of the above, is that things will probably have to get even worse before they can get better.

Strap yourself in.

Wolves Vs Blackburn Preview

Back in August a stirring comeback at Ewood Park gave us all hope of better things to come.

Sadly, fast-forward to March and it’s as you were at the foot of the Premier League table.

Familiar faces.

Can Wolves make it a double over Rovers?

And it’s very much Molineux Déjà vu tomorrow as Blackburn and Wolves emerge to lock horns in a pivotal survival clash.

Only this time a narrow defeat won’t be enough to appease an increasingly unsettled home crowd.

Some are calling it a ‘mustn’t lose’ and you can see there point.  A draw at the very least ensures no ground is surrendered.

But I consider it a ‘must win’.

We need 3 or 4 victories before the end of the season and looking down at the remaining fixtures, I’m not sure where we can realistically expect to get them.

Blackburn are poor away from home.

Their only win was a shock 3-2 at Old Trafford a few months back. They’ve dug-in for 6 draws but 33 goals conceded gives them the leakiest defence in the Premier League on their travels.

Don’t get too excited though.

Wolves aren’t exactly pulling up trees on their own ground and have conceded more goals at home than any other side in the top tier.

Not much chance of a nil nil then. Famous last words.

The Team

Tough to know what team to put out after last weekend, but after careful consideration, this would be my XI:

Hennessey, Zubar, Craddock, Bassong, Ward, Davis, O'Hara, Edwards, Jarvis, Kightly, Fletcher

Where do I start explaining that one?

I toyed with the idea of playing De Vries in goal given Hennessey’s recent fumbles, but stuck with the Welshman for the moment.

The back four was a shambles at Craven Cottage, albeit against a strong Fulham side and with little protection from the midfield. Still, the experienced head of Craddock, coupled with the athleticism of Bassong would be my preferred combination.

I said I’d play David Davis in my last blog post and I’m sticking with that. Edwards trained yesterday and if he’s fit, he should also play. We need legs in there to give us any sort of chance. That should free O’Hara up to do more going forward.

Foley and Kightly was tough decision on the right, as I think we could do with the extra cover down that flank to nullify the threat of Hoilett. However, I still think Kightly is a matchwinner on his day and we need more of those. We can’t always rely on Fletch and Jarvis.

This isn’t the team I think TC will pick though. I believe he’ll play 442 with Doyle and Fletch up front.

Prediction League

17 pundits thought we’d lose at Fulham last weekend but nobody said 5-0. Unbelievable!

This weekend it’s a classic heart versus head conundrum.

I’d love to think we can get the win we need, but too often in these games we end up falling apart.

I don’t want to be overly despondent, so I’ll say 2-2.

If you’re at Molineux for this one tomorrow have a great time and get right behind the lads.

Up The Wolves.