Wolves 2 Cambridge United 1

It was no great revelation that a side containing no fewer than eight midfielders produced an uneven performance.

Costa Wolves

Walter Zenga’s maverick team selections are fast becoming a feature of the season, but thankfully, so is winning.

Chances were created, squandered and freely gifted as the manager’s experimental lineup just about carried Wolves into round three.

Credit Cambridge for showing great spirit, particularly from two down to make a real fist of things. They’ll feel with a bit more luck, they could have extended the tie.

Makeshift forward Helder Costa was the major plus point, scoring and assisting goals as well as winning the second half penalty that should have put the tie to bed.

We saw glimpses of ability in a short cameo against Ipswich, but this was his first real opportunity to make a meaningful contribution and he did just that, showcasing the pace and skill we all hoped he possessed.

Jed Wallace carried on where he left off against Birmingham, also scoring and assisting in another useful display. He probably should have found the net again at least once more, but can still feel pleased about his night’s work.

Anyone wandering down to Molineux hoping to see debuts for Ola John and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will have left disappointed as neither featured despite the latter making it onto the bench.

Already you sense Zenga wants to feel his players understand precisely what they must do before they’re thrust into the action.

Prince Oniangue was given a soft launch at St Andrew’s on Saturday and a first start in this one, but struggled to sustain a promising start and soon faded. His mere physical presence alone in the middle of the park provides reassurance though.

Several of the old guard disappointed with James Henry, Dominic Iorfa and Kortney Hause all looking off their game.

Henry struggled to put things together and fluffed his chance to get on the scoresheet with a meek penalty, whereas Hause and Iorfa were less than convincing as a center half pairing.

With yet another new midfielder sitting in the stands last night, we still need that experienced head at the back to supplement the potential of those promising young defenders.

Similarly, there were no like-for-like replacements for Bodvarsson or Mason, hence the makeshift attack.

But in stark contrast to recent years, I fully expect those issues to be addressed before the end of August.

Onwards and upwards.

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Wolves Vs Cambridge United Preview

With the arrival of Ola John and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, that’s now eight summer additions through the door for Wolves and counting.

The challenge for Walter Zenga is making sure the new bodies are more help than hindrance.

For instance, we’ve been successful thus far by adopting a narrower shape and foregoing an out-and-out winger, so where does John fit in?

Matt Doherty continues to be a revelation at left-back, so do we really want to disrupt that progress by allowing Borthwick-Johnson to walk straight in?

These are the decisions that could define our season as greater strength in depth develops.

Cambridge

Cambridge_United_FC.svgAll I know about Cambridge is that they’re currently bottom of the football league after drawing 2-2 with Carlisle at the weekend and Shaun Derry is their manager.

Last season they finished a respectable 9th, just a handful of points shy of the play-offs so will be disappointed at such a sluggish start.

I’d like to offer greater insight but it’s been tough to find forums or media with anything of interest.

One obvious note of caution is that they dumped out Sheffield Wednesday in the last round, winning 2-1 after extra time with two very well taken goals.

But that was on their home patch against a much-changed Owls team. To come to Molineux and emerge victorious would be a much greater scalp.

Wolves

We know Walter Zenga is a fan of rotation as he said it himself after Saturday’s victory. Tomorrow will likely see at least five or six changes again and possibly even more with several Molineux debuts.

Team for Cambridge

That’s a complete guess at the starting XI based on those who didn’t feature at Birmingham and those who we don’t have replacements for.

Up front is where we’re lacking options and I hope to see at least one addition to further swell the ranks, with the hope Nouha Dicko will also be fit and firing after the international break.

We’ve been linked with Jordan Rhodes again today after seeing a big money bid knocked back for Derby striker Chris Martin a few weeks back. Either of those players would be great signings in my opinion and put a marker down about our immediate ambitions.

Predictions

Hard to foresee anything other than a comfortable home victory in this one. Even with a much changed team full of players who barely know each other, there should be a significant deficit in quality.

We normally find a way to concede but I’ll back us to score a few – 4-1.

That’s an unusually adventurous prediction for me but such is the feelgood factor right now, why not?

Up The Wolves!

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