Wolves 2 Blackpool 0

For 86 unfruitful minutes it looked like this game would be aptly symbolic of the Hayward era – frustrating.

Edwards

As was so often the case during Sir Jack’s bumpy tenure as club owner, Wolves showed good intentions but lacked the requisite quality or fortune to get over the line.

Blackpool, who started cautious and receded as the game went on defended the width of their penalty area defiantly and made it tough for Wolves to pick the lock.

But after Dominic Iorfa strode purposefully forward and some neat interchange released Rajiv van La Parra, his deflected cross finally opened the gates for Dave Edwards to profit.

The Welshman had by then been switched to the left of midfield, but even out of position he retains that wonderful appetite to get in the box and score a goal.

That’s four in a week for Edwards, who should have added to his tally much earlier in the game, but dragged wide when clean through.

He can be forgiven that blunder for another influential display, capped with the decisive breakthrough. Unlike his former team mate in the opposition’s lineup he has the stature and the legs to contribute all over the pitch.

O’Hara was kept mercifully quiet, restricted to the odd interception and a handful of well struck set pieces, as his team struggled to find a rhythm.

sir jack

Wolves always controlled the game, but too often neat build up failed to result in a meaningful pass or shot.

James Henry made no significant contribution whilst attempting to fill the gaping chasm left by the absent Bakary Sako.

So often Wolves’ talisman against this type backs-to-the-wall resistance, Sako was a painful miss yesterday. If nothing else, he can at least deliver a decent corner, which three of his team mates seemed incapable of doing.

On the opposite flank, van La Parra summed up the team performance – honest and willing, but never quite good enough.

That was until the final five minutes of course when the Dutchman finally made one of his crosses pay. He now has more assists this season than any other Wolves player, including Sako.

Price and McDonald can also feel pleased about their efforts. The former was continually the man picking up the ball and moving things forward, while the latter played with freedom and creativity.

Largely untroubled, the back four did what was necessary for another cleansheet, but Dominic Iorfa oozes star quality.

Unflappable when defending and ice cool in possession, his every involvement seems to underline what a wonderful prospect the club have unearthed.

Benik Afobe showed similar glimpses of promise in a second half cameo. With the game so condensed in central areas, he still managed to find pockets of space to trap the ball and demonstrate considerable power and pace.

His goal was just reward for both his and Dicko’s efforts, as the forwards were only afforded scraps from the table until the visitors late calamity gave the debutant a tap in.

Molineux, illuminated by lights and choruses to salute one of their own, went home contented that Wolverhampton’s favourite son had been dutifully honoured on and off the pitch.

And although Sir Jack’s time as owner can’t be looked back upon as a great success on the field, it’s clear that the infrastructure he created off it allowed for a bright and successful future.

‘Glad to have helped’ was his modest final epitaph.

But the pleasure Sir, was all ours.

Wolves Vs Blackpool Preview

Would it be fair to say that the game of football is almost secondary tomorrow?

Ohara

Of greater importance is giving a wonderful man the send off he so richly deserves from a club he gave so much to.

And I’m sure that will very much be the case, as Wolves have consistently proven they always remember one of their own. Which is exactly what Sir Jack was.

As a fan, he’d want a performance to match the occasion though, so I just hope that the players respond to what’s certain to be a passionate, vociferous backing.

Blackpool

Blackpool-FC-LogoAfter the summer that Blackpool had, what’s followed can’t have surprised many. Just past the halfway stage of the season: bottom of the table, eight points from safety.

Lee Clark has got a mammoth job on his hands if they’re to avoid the drop, but there are a few signs that just maybe things are picking up.

The Tangerines have only lost three of their last 10 matches and have taken four points from their two most recent, beating Millwall and drawing with Rotherham.

Away form is a big problem though and they’ve yet to win any of their 12 league matches on the road this season. Hopefully it’s not lucky 13.

Jamie O’Hara is back as the pantomime villain and he’ll want to make a point to the club that opted to freeze him out for over a year.

Wolves

It was encouraging that Wolves were able to storm back into the game in midweek, but just disappointing that they couldn’t keep the back door shut.

Wolves team for Blackburn

The team probably picks itself, but we now have Benik Afobe as a compelling option in attack. If Dicko’s back is still niggling him, there must be a chance Kenny will throw his new striker straight into the pit?

£2 million is the reported fee paid to Arsenal for Afobe and after plundering so many goals for MK Dons (18 already this season), there should be no doubting his confidence or ability to make an immediate impact.

Interesting that George Saville has been allowed to leave on loan. What a confidence boost for Jack Price, who was shoved out the door when the former Chelsea midfielder arrived. Now the tables have turned.

I don’t know about you, but I love that we’ve got that level of competition and a manager prepared to make big decisions on who goes and who stays.

The gaffer

Predictions

I don’t think it’s a complete myth that Wolves have a knack of playing struggling teams into form, but I do feel people make more of it than history suggests.

What is definitely accurate is our recent record against former players. We’ve been burned countless times by the likes of Keogh, Guedioura, Davies and Keane to name but a few.

Whether or not Jamie O’Hara has it in his locker to make that sort of decisive impact I don’t know, but he’ll be playing above himself tomorrow.

As Kenny says in the above video though, if Wolves get it right, particularly at Molineux, we shouldn’t go too far wrong. And I don’t think we will this time.

3-1

Jack Hayward’s Barmy Army!

Blackpool 0 Wolves 0

Kenny Jackett knows that results won’t always go his team’s way, but he’s also wise enough to recognise that consistency will always breed success in this feisty, competitive division.

Wolves Blackpool

Despite a disappointing stalemate, Wolves remained loyal to their principles yesterday and emerged with a useful point to show for it.

No goals scored sure, but then again, no goals conceded – yet again.

That’s four cleansheets from six Championship fixtures, which is all the more remarkable when you consider the only blemishes have been a questionable penalty and a painfully unfortunate ricochet.

Such miserliness steams from organisation, but also domination of the football. 63% possession yesterday shows Wolves again had an element of control to proceedings.

Still, Blackpool were resilient and effective with their 37% share. Nile Ranger could even have won it for them, had he kept his well-worked second half effort just an inch or two lower.

The Seasiders showed spirit and in Ranger and Delfounso they have individuals that could potentially dig them out of the horrible mess they find themselves in.

Wolves own individual talent, Rajiv van La Parra, came closest to conjuring up a decisive blow for Wolves, gliding inside and seeing a shot come back off the post.

With Sako on the sidelines, Michael Jacobs was finally handed a start and the diminutive midfielder almost picked up where he left off last season with a trademark headed effort that the keeper did well to push away.

Carl Ikeme had to be alert on several occasions too, most notably tipping a goal bound header over the bar as Blackpool pushed for the win.

Undefeated Charlton await at the Valley on Tuesday, which in itself will be another formidable examination but one Wolves won’t fear.

If they remain consistent, it’s hard too see them going too far wrong.

Blackpool Vs Wolves Preview

As timing goes, the international break arrived when Wolves needed it least.

Blackpool

Three straight league victories amidst a trio of encouraging, controlled performances against much fancied opposition had built up a mini whirlwind of momentum.

History has proven picking up the baton after a two week hiatus is seldom straightforward, so this fixture represents another interesting challenge for our burgeoning young side.

Blackpool

Blackpool-FC-LogoIf you were writing a handbook about how not to run a football club, a few chapters about Blackpool’s summer of discontent would make compelling reading.

Having somehow contrived to diminish their playing staff to just a handful of senior pros and become the comedy act of the football league in the process, chairman Karl Oyston now seems hell bent on prolonging the laughter.

Managers have been contacted and interviewed this week despite Jose Riga still being in the post that he himself only occupied back in July. What happens next is truly anyone’s guess.

The squad has at least been strengthened, numerically speaking, but the results have been both damning and conclusive – five games, five defeats. Zero points.

If there’s a grain of hope for the Seasiders it’s that all of their defeats, save for the 2-0 opening day loss at Notts Forest, have been by a single goal. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Wolves

Assuming no international hangovers, the starting XI on Saturday should mirror the settled team we’ve come to appreciate of late:

Wolves Blackpool

With another game (Charlton away) hot on the heels of this fixture though, the likes of Jacobs, Henry, Rowe, Ricketts and Saville could all get their chance to stake a claim in the next week.

It will be interesting to see how Kenny rotates personnel in and out when injuries, suspensions and fatigue enter the equation.

Just how effective those fringe players are will likely dictate whether or not this squad can sustain the pace at the business end of the Championship.

The gaffer

Predictions

Five people are already into double figures in the Prediction League, which is some achievement from just five fixtures. Well done to Dave H, ManxWolf91, vicsmith, MosmanWolf and in particular MrAussieWolf who leads the way with 12 points.

I can’t predict anything other than a Wolves victory for this one. While a law of averages screams Blackpool can’t continue losing forever, I expect them to struggle on for another week if Kenny can get even a decent percentage out of his team.

They have some capable individuals amongst their hodge-podge of a squad (Ranger, Delfounso, etc) but Wolves are a well-oiled machine these days, so I’m not expecting any slip-ups.

2-0.

Up The Wolves.

Wolves1 Blackpool 2

If only our hopeless, fraudulent players could be replaced as regularly as the yardstick I use to measure this season of despair.

Blackpool wolves

At the start of the campaign it would be the levels of nausea associated with that wretched violin track that accompanies our journey to the exits at full time.

You know the one. It’s the soundtrack beneath the ‘defeat’ button on the PA system, second only to the ‘drugs don’t work’ for soul destroying misery. I hate it.

By October the yardstick had shifted to my levels of repulsion towards David Dickinson’s Money Shop loan ad where a ‘seamless’ video wall once lived.

It keeps catching my eye as I look anywhere other than the football pitch for salvation and again, it defies my DNA.

But today, as I sit here contemplating yet another defeat with a shrieking violin in my ears, my yardstick has again been upgraded to cope with a new found low.

It arrives in the shape of my Bradford City supporting friend, who sat with me yesterday after I sat with him at Villa Park four days before.

One team, full of pride, passion and no little pace, reducing a grown man to tears and briefly rekindling all those emotions I’ve not felt for Wolves in years.

A law defying, humble team, more lovable than Charlotte Jackson in a swimming costume.

If there was a more deflated, dejected Villa fan than me at full time then I’d have been surprised, notwithstanding my delight for a good pal that has suffered more than most.

As we walked down Waterloo Road for the ‘return’ experience yesterday, I reminisced about the days when I could aspire for something special.

‘Ben, we’ve had 12 years of misery so it’s been a long time coming,’ he said at 2.55pm.

At 4.55pm, he’d changed his tune…

‘I feel genuinely sad for you. And I can’t see where you go from here,’ he consoled, as that blasted soundtrack violated my eardrums again.

A perennial League Two sufferer, supporting a once bankrupt-threatened club feeling genuinely concerned for a Wolves fan.

And the most sobering, upgraded yardstick to measure this season of unprecedented misery?

I genuinely feel envious of him.

*For a summary of the game: Zubar offered a refreshing alternative, set one up. Then Johnson cocked up. Then we were as crap as ever. Then Johnson cocked up again. Slow, ponderous shite.

Wolves Vs Blackpool Preview

After we beat Blackpool prior to Christmas I foolishly thought things would get better.

Blackpool Wolves

Yes, Wolves were lucky to get the win, but the result made it 9 points from 12, with two favourable home fixtures to come.

Limp to January and sort it out, I hoped.

Well, we haven’t won since. The 4 consecutive defeats that followed were enough to account for Ståle Solbakken and Dean Saunders has yet to arrest the slide.

Two scruffy draws mean the Welshman remains undefeated, but the mood around Molineux remains downcast.

Blackpool too are struggling.

The Tangerines haven’t won either since that pre-Christmas dust up and Michael Appleton’s shock departure has left them managerless.

Funny to think then that the last time this fixture was contested was in the Premier League.

Wolves

I wasn’t upset by the result at Hillsborough, but the performance was dire and we should have been beaten.

Saunders deployed the same passive, non-midfield we saw against Blackburn. We’ve got players sitting on the sidelines who can do better and create more. He needs to be braver and use them.

It’s understandable that he wants to shut the back door, but the side needs some balance and we need to be more adventurous at home. Something like:

Blackpool preview

I’d like to see what the Sigurdarson/Ebanks-Blake partnership could do with some forward thinking midfielders to supply them.

Blake has been pulverised and written-off this season, but he’s a finisher in a team that never gives him service. His all-round game has always been poor.

I find stories that Zubar could be sold strange, given that the new manager obviously identified him as an important player. We should keep him for the remainder of the season because for all his gaffes, he brings pace and athleticism, two commodities we’re desperately short on.

Predictions

14 people correctly predicted a draw after I pointed out that ‘hardly anyone predicts a draw’ in the Sheffield Wednesday preview.

So well done to all of you. Nobody said 0-0 though, so it’s singles all round.

I suspect Saunders will field a similarly negative team for the third consecutive game.

And based on that logic, I think we might get found out against a Blackpool team with some decent attacking talent.

2-1 loss I’m afraid.

Hope I’m wrong about the team and the result.

Up The Wolves.