Crewe Alexandra 0 Wolves 2

To anyone outside Molineux with a shorthand pad and pen, all this was part of the script.

Wolves team promoted

To every single fan of gold and black persuasion who knew what a toxic bombsite this club had become, securing promotion with four games remaining is nothing short of a miracle.

Kenny Jackett and your wonderful young squad of history makers, we salute you.

Most pundits – and a fair few Wolves fans too – had us down to walk League One on the assumption that we were too good to be in League One in the first place.

Quite how we were going to do it was never explained however, with the names Ricketts, McDonald, Jacobs, Golbourne, Henry and Dicko on the tip of nobody’s tongue.

Until our unassuming manager parked up in Waterloo Road with an almighty new broom in the boot, none of this would have been possible, however much it was part of the script in the eyes of every journalist.

Wolves at CreweWell done Kenny for a miraculous on-field achievement, featuring gargantuan rift bridging skills between fans and club and a swelling sense of pride that I once feared we’d never feel again.

Yes, a club like ours should be getting out of this league but with such apathy, failure and downright poison on our books, our pre-Jackett team would have continued to shame in division three.

Where last season’s double dip losers created history for all the wrong reasons, this vibrant young side have flipped it on its head for all the right ones.

Our promotion clinching win at Gresty Road was ultimately processional and featured the most appropriate name on the scoresheet – Kevin McDonald.

The figurehead, talisman and driving force behind this all-conquering side broke the deadlock with a deflected shot on the stroke of half time and if it didn’t kill off the game, then Chuks Aneke’s off-the-ball red card moments later almost certainly did.

Like Stevenage and Shrewsbury before this, another relegation threatened side made life difficult for us, but with typical care in possession and a numerical advantage to boot, the result was never in doubt.

Not least when David Edwards scored a near customary goal from the edge of the box to make it 2-0 – his fourth in six.

And so, 49 weeks after going down at Brighton in a second successive relegation, we can enjoy a well-earned party as the feel-good factor grows.

That we can bask in it for a further four fixtures is the most fitting thing of all. Kenny Jackett should savour every minute.

Highlights

Crewe Alexandra Vs Wolves Preview

Does everyone feel confident enough to agree it’s now a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ for Wolves?

Crewe Woives

Rotherham’s late defeat at Bramall Lane means the maximum points requirement is just four points away, three when you factor in the vastly superior goal difference.

And that of course assumes The Millers win all of their remaining matches, including next Friday’s trip to Molineux.

Surely, even with the scar tissue of 2002, the fans can dare to believe promotion is in the bag? Some might disagree of course.

Whatever you’re stance, a first place finish should be the ultimate aim. I’ll be bitterly disappointed if this Wolves team don’t lift the trophy in May.

Crewe

Crewe logoPromotion could be mathematically confirmed tomorrow with the right configuration of results, but Crewe have their own sums to calculate.

They currently occupy 21st position, sitting agonisingly on the wrong side of the dotted line with an inferior goal difference to the three other teams on 43 points.

It’s still all to play for between the bottom eight clubs, six of which are separated by just three points. A win for Crewe tomorrow would be huge.

Goals conceded is the problem for Steve Davis’ side. The 76 they’ve let in (31 at home) represents the highest in the league. That’s over three times more than Wolves (25) have shipped.

Goals scored has been less of a problem and top scorer Chuk Aneke has 16 to his name so far this season. He’ll be one to look out for tomorrow.

Wolves

Injuries haven’t hampered progress thus far for Kenny Jackett and it looks like he’ll have a full squad to choose from again tomorrow.

Wolves team for Peterborough

The team that started against Peterborough last weekend did a fantastic job I thought, handling what could have been an awkward fixture with relative ease.

I don’t see any reason therefore to rush James Henry back or look for a way to accommodate the likes of Leon Clarke or Liam McAlinden. It’s useful to have options like that on the bench.

I’m sure Kenny has something specific up his sleeve though, as he always does, but I’m not expecting any major surprises.

The odds

Wolves as you’d expect are strong favourites for this one at 8/13. The draw is 16/5 and a Crewe win is on offer at 5/1.

Nouha Dicko is probably overdue a goal and he’s 15/4 for the opener tomorrow. We’re still also waiting for a Jack Price goal. If you think this could be his day, he’s 16/1 to be first scorer.

All odds can be found here.

The gaffer

Predictions

I didn’t predict the right outcome against Peterborough but 51 of you did. A hearty well done to the nine who got the scoreline spot on to double their points intake.

Wolves should win this one and I strongly fancy them to do so. I don’t think Gresty Road is a difficult place to go and play football, so the players should enjoy the environment.

Assuming no major brain farts, I expect Wolves to get on the ball and dictate. Crewe are poor defensively and we have the players to exploit that.

3-1

Up The Wolves

Wolves 2 Crewe Alexandra 0

If football victories were Christmas presents, then the majority of 22,693 were treated to a pack of socks against Crewe Alexandra.

Wolves Crewe

It wasn’t particularly exciting or original, but securing a first win in four was a useful present that will definitely serve a purpose.

Having torn away the wrapping paper, this Boxing Day gift was pretty modest on the eye, with more questions being thrown up for manager Kenny Jackett to ponder.

In playing his favoured 4-4-1-1 – featuring Edwards behind Cassidy – Wolves looked functional enough, but not nearly threatening enough to trouble the league’s worst defence, which had conceded 43 goals until today.

Neither did we look resolute enough to banish all thoughts of the bottom side scoring, as seen in the dying seconds of normal time when a huge chance was spurned with the score at 1-0.

Thankfully for us they missed, we scored, and the three points that followed offered similar levels of comfort to a good old pair of Christmas socks.

The overriding question for Jackett now is how to make this team more plausible as an attacking force, without compromising the conservative approach he appears to crave.

Despite the spectacle being largely attritional, it still offered enough to suggest that an answer isn’t far away.

Jack Price was a personal man-of-the-match thanks to an industrious, selfless showing in midfield which gave McDonald licence to move forward, particularly in the second half. Surely this is the future for the big Scot, who flourished when he first signed in a similar role.

James Henry and Michael Jacobs were intelligent, intuitive outlets either side and when Leigh Griffiths eventually came on for the one-dimensional Edwards, we looked a proper team.

The sight of our cult hero lashing the ball home in front of an adoring South Bank in injury time was as uplifting as it was perplexing.

How can a constant goal threat with 13 strikes to his name be warming the bench while Jackett’s ridiculously inferior alternatives struggled in his place?

By bringing the top scorer on during the second half, Crewe were finally forced to turn around and defend, instead of serenely play around with the ball in front of their back four, much like MK Dons did.

With the defence taking care of itself – only to be strengthened whenever Doherty returns – this team isn’t too far away from being where Jackett would want it to be.

He deserves huge credit to have arrived at this point having picked the bones from a footballing bombsite only five months ago.

Hopefully, he is now holding out for the January sales where the acquisition of some raw pace up front would be infinitely more exciting than today’s Christmas gift.

Wolves Vs Crewe Alexandra Preview

Looking back to this time last season, I was highly optimistic about our immediate prospects.

Crewe

Wolves had just beaten Blackpool away and had two winnable home fixtures to look forward to over the Christmas break.

What followed was a 3-0 pummeling from Peterborough, followed up by the most dour 2-0 defeat you’ll ever see against Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich.

Suffice to say, I’m keeping my expectations in check this time as we once again enter back-to-back Molineux festivity.

Crewe

It’s been a tough old season for Crewe and they come into this match in 23rd position, just two points off the foot of the table.

The Railwaymen have comfortably conceded more goals than any other side in League One (45) and share the lowest goals scored tally with Sheffield United (18).

They’ve lost 7 of their 10 away matches so far this season and scored just 7 goals against 25 conceded. I don’t need to paint it any clearer then – Wolves must win this one.

However, Steve Davis’ men are unbeaten in their last three matches and have claimed a few scalps already this season – most notably a 2-0 away win at Preston.

Wolves

Kevin McDonald returns after his one match suspension and I sincerely hope he makes an immediate return to the side. After dropping Leigh Griffiths in favour of Bjorn Sigurdarson last weekend, it will also be intriguing to see which forward partnership start this time.

Wolves Crewe

That would probably be my eleven, assuming Matt Doherty is still out. He’s been a massive miss in my opinion, particularly in an attacking sense down the right flank. Ricketts is more dependable than impressive in the final third.

The odds

No surprise to see Wolves are red hot favourites to win this one at 4/11. Crewe are 17/2 and the draw is 10/3.

You have to go a long way down the first goalscorer’s coupon to find any Crewe name. Even ‘No Goalscorer’ (12/1) is ahead of Chuks Aneke who is 14/1.

Suffice to say then, if you’re a pessimist this is the game to be betting on. All odds are available from here.

Predictions

No great surprise that nobody predicted a 3-3 at Rotherham. But 14 people did plump for a draw to pick up a point each. Well done to all.

This is one of those matches where everyone will predict a win apart from a handful of resistors who say ‘we always end the opposition’s bad runs’.

I laugh in their faces and predict a thumping victory – 5-1.

Up The Wolves

* p.s. I’m aware this prediction flagrantly goes against the guarded approach I claimed to be adopting, but foolish confidence grew as I looked at those Crewe stats :)