Gillingham 1 Wolves 0

One keeper on strike, one striker worth keeping and one win in seven games.

Gills Wolves

One wretched defeat, one meaningful shot and one television spectacle to make any grown Wolves fan cry.

It was bad enough that we tossed away yet more momentum with the flagrant disregard of a Bakary Sako pass, but even worse that an entire nation saw what a hopelessly anaemic, one paced side we can be.

After this miserable spectacle, Notts Forest won’t touch Sako with a shitty stick, Michael Jacobs will go back to Derby and a Scottish side will be telling our one striker worth keeping to come home for the sake of his sanity.

Only a Massey Ferguson was missing from this ploughed field in Kent and judging by David Edwards, Kevin Doyle, George Elokobi and the extraordinarily useless Sako, the tractor would have been more mobile.

This was the pits and proof that if 28,000 can turn up for a Christmas home game, the very same amount can feel such acute levels of pain that they probably thought they’d left behind last season.

Well folks, have Wolves got news for you…

…Things can get a damned sight worse and failing some reinforcements as a matter of urgency, they most probably will.

After some promising signs against Tranmere and Leyton Orient before, things eventually degenerated into complete farce tonight, as heard in Gillingham fans’ jeers whenever the hopeless Sako got anywhere near the ball.

The Frenchman generated more laughs than Jack Dee on a good night and his umpteenth circus act ended with the ball rolling under his foot in the first minute of injury time, which allowed Gillingham to throw, then kick the winner within seconds.

To hear Gillingham fans guffaw at one of our players as we laughed at Martin Allen’s red trousers back in August shows how far we have fallen, and will continue to fall if we don’t reinforce this squad.

True, the players were doubtless leggy after so many games in so few days, but had we have taken the FA Cup seriously, we would not have been making a national embarrassment of ourselves in the first place.

Maybe this will act as one final wake-up call to Jackett, Morgan and Moxey.

Maybe the manager will dispense with players who have blighted any sense of progress for too long and maybe, our owner might have learned that passive penny pinching won’t work.

Like a Friday night in front of the TV, we will have to see what happens.

Gillingham Vs Wolves Preview

Whatever your opinion on recent performances, one win in six isn’t good enough.

Wolves Gillingham

The fact that Brentford have won their last seven matches in a row and 11 of their last 12, simply compounds matters.

The Bees won’t go on winning forever so Wolves have to start digging out the victories sooner rather than later.

If they win tonight, which they should, top spot will be temporarily regained for a week, with Brentford not playing until next Saturday.

Gillingham

The 4-0 thumping that was dished out the Gills back in August gave everyone inside Molineux the confidence that Wolves could enjoy a successful season.

It’s funny to think that three of our best players that afternoon – Davis, Evans and Ismail can barely get a look in these days.

Martin Allen has since been given the boot and former England (caretaker) manager Peter Taylor is now the man in charge at Priestfield.

They’ve steadied the ship since and now sit 17th, alongside a clutch of teams just outside the relegation zone.

And although they only have one win in their last six, they’ve taken points off Peterborough and Walsall. It also took a late turnaround to deny them victory over Leyton Orient.

Home form reads won four, drawn four, lost five, scored 17, conceded 18. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Wolves

Kenny rotated the team out of necessity against Tranmere with James Henry and Jack Price ruled out. He’ll have to factor in the loss of Carl Ikeme, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and the suspended Richard Stearman tonight.

Wolves team for Gills

I’m assuming Wayne Hennessey will return in goal. There’s been speculation linking him with a move away but he’ll surely play tonight. He’s an international keeper. We need that experience.

Back four is anyone’s guess. Elokobi seems the most likely bet to come into the side but if he plays left-back I’m not sure where everyone else slots in.

I’m personally of the opinion that two strikers is the way to go. We need to win and I’m not sure we can do that if we’ve only got goalless Jake Cassidy in the box. He’s surely due a rest?

The odds

Wolves are as usual favourites for the win at 8/11. The Gills are 17/4 and the draw is 29/10.

Bakary Sako is long overdue a goal from open play and the Frenchman is 13/2 for the opener tonight. The home side’s most likely scorer is Danny Kedwell at 13/2.

All odds available from here.

Predictions

Only two people thought Wolves would draw at Prenton Park. Timberwolf takes a point and Predictor gets a maximum for yet another correct scoreline. Well done to both.

Difficult time of the season at the moment with results not going our way and the injuries piling up. Need to come through January with a few wins and some new personnel.

I would still back us to get the job done tonight ahead of a horrible looking fixture against Preston next weekend.

2-1 to the old gold.

Up The Wolves

Wolves 4 Gillingham 0

While one solitary game of football can hardly right the many wrongs of the last two years, it can still provide a spoonful of medicine that has rarely been more welcome.

Wolves Gillingham

A good old fashioned dose of ‘winning feeling’ – featuring four uplifting goals – actually felt like a miracle cure at various stages of the afternoon, such is the paucity of such moments.

And while it’s unlikely that Gillingham will provide us with our stiffest test of the season, it’s similarly improbable that three points will feel as good as this.

Kenny Jackett’s prescription was 90 minutes’ worth of fresh air, with a team full of Wolves players looking united, harmonious and genuinely proud to wear the shirt at last.

At 3pm when Dave Wagstaffe was remembered with such heartfelt affection, they surely would have known that for all our self-inflicting peculiarities, Wolves remain a special club.

Sam Ricketts would have told them so in the pre-match huddle after laying Waggy’s number 11 shirt behind the North Bank goal, before applauding the dewy eyed masses behind it.

No tears of pain for once though, as our first half performance did justice to the great man.

Attacking Waggy’s iconic jersey, Leigh Griffiths evoked memories of the good old days with a superb opener.

Two wingers combining for the third goal was similarly appropriate.

Griffiths’ goal was a sign of things to come as the striker put in the most complete 45 minutes in a number nine shirt that I can remember since Steve Bull.

He was quite simply phenomenal. Awesome in fact, and made you wonder quite how or why he was marginalised when we needed him most last season.

Players like Griffiths are like gold dust and had we been able to call upon him during our Championship debacle, it’s unlikely we’d have perished in the manner we did.

His movement, touch, vision and sheer footballing brain put him a cut above any Wolves forward we’ve seen for a long time, dispatching his chances with Bully-like efficiency.

Behind him, there were partnerships all over the pitch with Stearman and Batth looking impenetrable, the former clearly relishing in a role of seniority as the latter glistened alongside.

David Davis acted as a perfect foil for Lee Evans, with the Welshman displaying maturity beyond his years in one of the best performances of the day.

Meanwhile, our full backs looked mobile and athletic for once in what was my personal highlight of the day.

Aside from Griffiths’ virtuoso display, Matt Doherty really caught the eye and suggested that we have a genuine outlet who can get in behind defences.

With Sako in mercurial mode and Ismail a constant threat wide right, we actually got behind a defence for the first time in ages.

The fact we kept on doing it for the rest of the game was the most encouraging sight of all.

Yes, Sako and Doyle’s futures are uncertain, while the form of ‘Jackett’s juniors’ will certainly dip.

But if Molineux can remain a pain free zone during either eventuality, then we can at least look forward to Saturday afternoons again.

Wolves Vs Gillingham Preview

Molineux was a horrible place to be last season.

Gillingham manager

Turgid performances and rotten decisions made for a highly inhospitable atmosphere.

Things should be more harmonious this time, but the feelgood factor needs to regain momentum after a stuttering start. That means beating Gillingham.

Apparently a visit to Wolverhampton will be every League One team’s cup final, so this promises to be the first of 23 prestige occasions.

Gillingham

While we were busy racking up a second successive relegation, Gillingham were winning the League Two title.

And because we must obey the strict laws of the football cliche, I’m obliged to point out that you never want to play a newly promoted side early in the season.

Hold your horses though because the Gills have already lost their first two games of the campaign. A painful last minute home defeat to Colchester in the league, followed by a 2-0 cup loss (again at home) to Bristol City.

Martin Allen is their gaffer, of whom I know little, other than he’s managed Barnet on three separate occasions. Now that’s knowledge you can take to the bank.

On their playing staff, man-mountain Adebayo Akinfenwa will be one to watch out for. He makes George Elokobi look like Mo Camara.

Wolves

As is tradition, a spate of early season injury problems are already hampering progress. Most of the causalities, with the exception of the perpetually injured Dave Edwards, are crawling off their sick beds though. My guess is the starting XI will be something like:

Wolves team for Gillingham

We were practically anonymous as an attacking force against Morecambe, so it’s important Sigurdarson and Sako return if fit. We’re definitely short in the midfield but hopefully the home crowd will bring out the best in Davis and Evans.

Zeli Ismail showed glimpses of promise on Tuesday, so I’m keen to see him named amongst the substitutes at the very least.

I wonder if Kenny Jackett is considering a more conventional 442 formation with a striker pushed up alongside Griffiths? The Scot has been isolated so far playing up front alone and feeding off long balls. A waste.

The odds

As you’d probably expect, Wolves are favorites to win this one with odds of 4/5 on the home victory.

Gillingham are 10/3 to score a shock away win, while the draw is 13/5.

You can get odds of 4/1 on Leigh Griffiths being the first goalscorer, while our old friend Adebayo Akinfenwa is at 9/1 to open the scoring.

Predictions

Well done to Kowloon Wolf who audaciously predicted the 0-0 at Preston. It’s an opening day maximum (2 points) for the 2011/12 champion.

25 others also took a single point, predicting the draw without getting the score.

As I’m feeling jaunty ahead of our first home game, I’ll predict a comfortable win before the crippling reality sets in.

3-1.

Up The Wolves.