Wolves 3 Carlisle United 0

Is there really anything left to say in this wonderful season that has comfortably surpassed any and all expectations?

Wolves League One Trophy

Probably not.

Every groundbreaking victory, every broken record and every brilliant individual and collective performance has been rightly celebrated through countless column inches.

Wolves offered no fresh perspectives yesterday, sweeping aside a hapless Carlisle to rubber-stamp a 17th home win of the campaign.

After the predictably consistent Sam Ricketts tucked away a fifth minute opener there was never one moment where this game looked anything other than one final leisurely stroll for the champions.

Goals two and three duly arrived without Wolves exiting first gear, as a resplendent Molineux basked in sunshine-laden exhibition football.

And as the Mexican wave commenced it’s tenth lap of the ground, my thoughts wandered towards the challenges that await in the summer.

Keeping this carefully crafted squad together must be priority one. Retaining Stearman and Edwards. Rebuking any advances for Sako. Ensuring that all come back prepared and ready to do it all again.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that four, five, six new players must be acquired to bolster the squad for a Championship assault.

Several shrewd additions that arm Kenny Jackett with the depth and variation to cope with the demands of the second tier would more than suffice.

But if the starting XI come August mirrored the team that kicked off at three o’clock yesterday, I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Truthfully, I’m intrigued to see how the likes of Fulham, Cardiff and any of other fancied contenders fare against the high tempo, passing game we’ve come to expect.

Greater quality from the opposition presents a greater challenge, but I suspect that in itself will bring out the very best in Kenny Jackett’s young side.

And my final words of the campaign are dedicated to the manager, who gleefully hoisted the trophy to the sky amidst joyful (if not slightly protracted) celebrations.

He more than anyone or anything gives me belief that even better times are just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the journey.

Wolves Vs Carlisle United Preview

It’s hard to believe how far Wolves have come between game 1 and game 46 of this incredible season.

Wolves Carlisle

After eeking out that 0-0 with Preston back in August, I would have struggled to believe the team would add 99 further points by the time Carlisle came to town in May.

Yet here we are, 86 goals and 30 wins later, standing on the cusp of history, needing one more victory to become the most successful side in League One history.

To think I cringed at vociferous statements about Wolves ‘bossing the league’ all those months ago, but boss it they have since the turn of the year.

Tomorrow is a day to savour and relish for players, fans, manager, coaches, staff and one very happy chairman.

Steve Morgan had the finger pointed firmly in his direction last year when the wheels broke off, so it’s only fair that he take a portion of the credit for the recovery that’s followed.

I’ve always been a strong believer that the decisions taken at the very top ultimately control the fate of a football club. In bestowing more power upon Kevin Thelwell last summer, which in turn resulted in the arrival of Kenny Jackett, the corner had been turned.

Carlisle

CarlisleGraham Kavanagh is already thinking ahead to life in League Two and looking at the table, it’s easy to see why.

Anything less than victory tomorrow sees Carlisle relegated and even an unlikely three points at Molineux would still see them needing slip-ups from both Crewe and Tranmere.

Away form has cost them dearly and with just three wins on their travels all season, only Notts County possess a worse record. The 16 goals they’ve managed on the road is also the fewest.

On paper then, this should be a routine victory for Wolves, but strange things tend to happen on final day so a professional performance is needed to ensure the Cumbrians are dispatched.

We all remember goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scoring that famous goal back in 1999, which kept Carlisle in the Football League against all odds. If they’re to survive tomorrow, they’ll need similar heroics.

Wolves

Every player will want a run out tomorrow, but I’m expecting Kenny Jackett to field the strongest team he has at his disposal:

Wolves team for Carlisle

James Henry could come in at Dave Edwards’ expense if Kenny felt like fielding the XI that achieved that record nine game winning streak, which effectively carried us home.

Equally, Matt Doherty, Lee Evans, Liam McAlinden or Leon Clarke could be given more game time. It’s a shame that anyone has to miss out.

The odds

Wolves are hot favourites at 4/9 for the win. A draw is 4/1, whilst Carlisle are an unfavoured 13/2.

You’ll get good odds on any Carlisle player scoring but Gary Madine is considered their most likely bet, at 9/1 for the first goal tomorrow.

Dave Edwards added to an already impressive tally last weekend and he’s 15/2 for the opener. I wouldn’t bet against him. All odds available here.

The gaffer

Predictions

Not many people thought we’d fail to secure victory at Coventry last weekend, but well done to the handful that did.

I will do one final update of the PL table and officially crown winners, runners-up, etc in due course. I’ve failed epically in sending prizes out to previous winners, but I will eventually reward the champions I promise.

Got to be a win tomorrow, regardless of how badly Carlisle need the points. We should be too good for them and with a packed house expecting a performance, I doubt the lads will let us down.

4-0

Up The Wolves!

Carlisle United 2 Wolves 2

At least 1,335 Wolves fans had enough talking points to punctuate the 187 mile journey home.

Sako Carlisle

With a frenzied game of football played at a break-neck pace, many of the travel club coaches could be reaching Knutsford Services before the hardcore passengers had exhausted all conversation.

In an atmosphere way more befitting of an FA Cup fixture than Boundary Park will be on Saturday, Wolves were terribly ragged.

So ragged infact, that the Radio WM commentators were positively hoarse during the second half, such was the frightening number of counter attacks mounted against us whenever we gave the ball away.

With all that in mind, Kenny Jackett should be chuffed with this point, irrespective of the manner in which we played during that second half. It’s a point that creates more daylight between us and Peterborough and leaves us within striking distance of Leyton Orient.

Whenever we lost possession – which was infuriatingly often in the second half – we were overrun through that vast chasm of midfield space that we’ve struggled to find a solution for.

O’Hara, on for the penalty perpetrator Evans, barely warranted a mention from commentators Wilford and Regan during his 35min cameo, while Davis was predictably profligate on the ball.

Ball retention, maintaining pressure and a general lack of quality – particularly in central midfield – were all to blame for our performance according to the radio, so with all that considered, a point was a good one.

Carlisle could – and perhaps should – have won this game and if the ovation at the final whistle was anything to go by, then the home fans had seen their best display of the season.

Brunten park

Getting our noses in front twice (through dangermen Sako and Griffiths) should perhaps yield all three points on another day, but that is to ignore the fact that we were well and truly rattled for the majority of the second period.

Kevin Doyle was curiously off form after Saturday’s impressive showing and mistakes were rife throughout, typified by an over hit corner with the very last kick of the game.

Nobody said this season was going to be easy and on 15 games worth of evidence it certainly hasn’t been, irrespective of our impressive points haul.

If it’s any consolation to the 1,335 diehards to have made the journey, they may have seen the most important one yet.

Talking point

With the midfield once again taking much of the blame for the dropped points, can the problem be solved with existing personnel or must Kenny Jackett look to the transfer/loan market? And if so, what type of midfielder should we be bringing in?

Carlisle United Vs Wolves Preview

The last time we played Carlisle was back in the old fourth division in 1988.

Carlisle

Wolves won both fixtures that season, bringing the points back from Brunton Park with a 1-0 victory before a 3-1 win at Molineux helped them to the league title.

Hopefully those are positive omens for tonight and the season as a whole. This is effectively a free game for Wolves with a win taking us level with Leyton Orient, but more importantly putting clear daylight between ourselves and Peterborough.

Carlisle

It was an abysmal start to the season for the Cumbrians, which saw them lose their first three league games 5-1, 4-0 and 4-0 (although worth pointing out the opposition were Leyton Orient, Coventry and Bradford).

That was enough to ensure Greg Abbott’s reign as manager was brought to a conclusion, with Graham Kavanagh subsequently stepping into the breach and bringing about a change in fortunes.

Three wins on the bounce in September took them away from the relegation zone and despite a recent dip in form, victory tonight would take them up to midtable.

Former Liverpool striker David Amoo will be one to watch this evening. He has 7 goals already this season.

Wolves

Kevin McDonald was an unexpected absentee at the weekend and he’ll be missing again tonight. Matt Doherty still isn’t back, so it seems likely we’ll see a similar team to Saturday:

Wolves team for carlisle

Questions were again asked of the midfield against Stevenage, but I suspect Kenny will retain the same personnel.

It should be said that Evans played a lovely ball through for the second goal and was unlucky with a first half effort that was cleared off the line. Davis for my money, didn’t make the same sort of significant contributions.

Is it disrespectful to say whatever team we put out should win? Given that Carlisle have scored few and conceded lots and Wolves have scored lots and conceded few, perhaps not.

The odds

Wolves are again heavy favourites to win this one at 4/6. Carlisle are 19/4 and the draw is 3/1.

If you think Carlisle will go into the interval winning and Wolves can turn it round to win in the second half, a generous 20/1 is on offer.

All odds are available from here.

Predictions

With such a quick turnaround from Saturday, I haven’t had chance to tot up the scores for the Prediction League.

But I can safely assume practically everyone thought we’d win so it will be points galore all round. I’ll try and get the table updated today.

I have to predict a win tonight because it’s the only logical result.

The skeptic in me knows we’ll get tripped up somewhere this season, but we seem to be playing better away from Molineux, which is reflected by five straight wins on the road.

I’ll back us for a sixth – 3-1.

Up The Wolves.