Charlton Athletic 0 Wolves 2

How much brighter is everyone’s outlook after back-to-back victories?

Graham Charlton

Old gold confidence is higher than it’s been for a while as we approach 2016 closer to the play-offs than the relegation zone.

In what may hopefully be a metaphor for the season, a largely forgettable first 45 minutes was followed by a much improved second half with Wolves running out comfortable victors.

On a sunny winter’s afternoon in South London there were more than just the unseasonable conditions for a sizable travelling support to enjoy.

At the back, Wolves built on a clean-sheet at Reading with another solid performance.

Carl Ikeme will certainly have busier afternoons this season, and if Batth and Ebanks-Landell continue to cut out the defensive errors, any January recruits might find it more difficult to break into the starting XI than would have been predicted only a few weeks back.

Away end Charlton

Charlton, admittedly missing several influential players including one time Wolves target Gudmundsson, created very little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities.

Much of the credit for this must go to the industrious Connor Coady who completed a second full 90 minutes in three days yet never stopped running.

What was most impressive was as well as providing the expected defensive cover, his lung-busting runs often saw him supporting Afobe as the most advanced of the central midfield trio.

After an impressive start to his Wolves’ career, his form seemed to desert after that sending off against Brighton. Continuing to perform at this level for the remainder of the season would do nicely.

It seems impossible to review any game at present without praising Jordan Graham, and today was no exception.

As well as providing yet another assist, the winger remained composed to score his first Wolves goal after good work from Afobe on the right. Hopefully the first of many to come.

Looking out over the numerous tower cranes and construction works as the overground service transported us back north of the river, you couldn’t help hope (dangerous thing for a Wolves fan) we too can build on some encouraging foundations.

Charlton Athletic Vs Wolves Preview

Had we failed to beat Reading, I think we’d all be looking at this fixture a little differently.

Charlton

But with the relative comfort of seven points between Wolves and the bottom three, you’d be forgiven for breathing easier.

Losing tomorrow against a team in free fall may reignite the panic though, so best to avoid that scenario if possible lads.

With two games inside 48 hours, you’d expect to see a few changes in personnel for both sides, which could prove the difference.

Charlton

Charlton logoThe Addicks are sinking like a stone and it took a last kick of the game equaliser at Ashton Gate to prevent a Boxing Day defeat at fellow strugglers Bristol City.

They haven’t won any of their last six and have lost three of those matches to cement a place inside the relegation zone.

Bristol City, Rotherham and MK Dons all seem capable of picking up results, making their current plight all the more worrying.

Their home form (won three, drawn four, lost four) isn’t disastrous so perhaps if they are to repair the damage, the Valley can be their saving grace?

Wolves

It was disappointing to see Jack Price ruled out against Reading. Hopefully he’ll make it back in time for this one, as I think Dave Edwards needs a rest.

Wolves team for Charlton

I still think a more compact midfield would suit us defensively and without wanting to dwell on the point, I also think trying Iorfa centrally at the expense of Ebanks-Landell is well worth a go.

I’m expecting a couple of changes, so it will be interesting to see how Kenny uses his available resources in pursuit of a winning formula.

Predictions

I haven’t predicted victory in a while but I’m feeling foolishly confident.

Yes, Charlton are long overdue a win, but tails should be up after our own morale boosting result and I think there’s less pressure away from Molineux.

I’ll go for a narrow but highly satisfying 2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 2 Charlton 1

Early season victories rarely feel this important.

Le Fondre

But our spirited fight back against a well organised Charlton side was crucial after consecutive league defeats and the goings on behind the scenes.

And whilst it’s unlikely to evaporate the discontent felt by most supporters about the imminent loss of Richard Stearman, it was nice to see signs of life after our feeble outing at Cardiff.

James Henry had one of his better games on the left side of midfield while Kortney Hause and Ethan Ebanks-Landell also looked pleasingly dependable at the heart of defence, offering hope for the immediate future.

Nouha Dicko’s injury is a major setback and it’s worrying to think of a Wolves team deprived of his services. Few centre forwards can stretch a backline as well as our number nine can and it’s crucial that Kenny Jackett is allowed to re-enter the transfer market to cover for what looks like a lengthy absence.

Carl Ikeme’s early season woes continued as he came unstuck by a relatively straightforward attempt by Johann Berg Gudmundsson. The big man’s kicking was also dire and the psychological impact of his demotion to the bench is beginning to look worryingly obvious.

Performance wise, we can have few complaints. But any feelgood factor brought about by this victory is tempered by the baffling news of Richard Stearman’s sale to Fulham.

For a club that allegedly has ambitions to return to the Premier League, it seems strange to sell your reigning player of the season to a side to a rival.

Kenny Jackett may describe this as a ‘footballing decision’ but it’s becoming more and more apparent that Steve Morgan’s influence at Molineux stretches well beyond the boardroom.

The club’s insistence that they won’t sell Benik Afobe is now beginning to look uncreditable. If they’re willing to take £2 million for one of the best defenders in the division, can we really trust them to turn their noses up at a big money offer for one of its best strikers?

After the futile assurances that we would spend big to replace Bakary Sako, Morgan and Moxey are at real risk of undoing the good work of the last two years and transforming us into a team whose tendency is to look down the league table rather than up it.

The next three days are crucial and I’ll be crossing my fingers for better news, albeit more in hope than expectation.

The gaffer