Ipswich Town 0 Wolves 1

There was a time when getting the deck chairs out was a sign of complacency.

But after a well publicised week of fun in the sun, Wolves were all business under the clouds at Portman Road.

If anything last weekend’s limp defeat to Forest now looks like the holiday with normal service so comfortably resumed.

The vitamin D certainly did the trick for our wingbacks who combined to finish a flowing pass and move sequence with the game’s only goal.

They weren’t the only ones with a notable spring in their step. Jota and, much later in the game, Bonatini were two others obviously refreshed after soaking in a few rays, but in truth the whole team looked better for the experience.

The only disappointment is that this comprehensive away performance wasn’t given the resounding scoreline it warranted.

Bartosz Bialkowski made many fine saves, denying Douglas, Bonatini, Enobakhare and Jota (several times) when a second goal felt inevitable.

Better decision making could have opened the floodgates too with Jota in particular guilty of fudging what looked a simple lay off to give Costa a tap in.

Nuno despatched a fluid front three with Cavaleiro, Costa and Jota all taking turns up top and that extra pace in the final third caused Ispwich problems. It’s a compelling alternative to playing a traditional number nine.

Just as important was the selection of Alfred N’diaye who benefited from a minor injury to Saiss. He was colossal alongside Neves and his powerful presence introduced athleticism we’ve missed through the middle. Now could be his time to hold down a regular place.

With the chances passing us by the defence had to withstand the predictable late bombardment. Ruddy nearly gifted the Tractor Boys a point they never looked like getting when he came for a long ball and failed to claim, but recovered with a smart stop.

That was a minor blip in another afternoon where Wolves were so well organised out of possession they were only ever vulnerable to mistakes and misfortune.

With the 12 point gap re-established, temporarily at least, the same it would seem applies to the season.

But with Nuno still preaching focus, while the rest of us dream of glory, I doubt we’ll be talking about deck chairs again until May.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

It’s pretty low to blame a bad result on the pitch, but I’m going to do it anyway.

As soon as the game kicked off last Saturday, you could see it was heavy under foot. A few passes held up and it was obvious it effected the team’s fluency.

Yes, it’s the same for both sides and please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying – Forest deserved the win and were comfortably the better side.

But inevitably when the opposition bank up you’ve got to move the ball quickly to create chances and the pitch made that trickier than it’s been all season at Molineux.

Wolves have been successful because they’ve been able to adapt to whatever the opposition have thrown at them. The playing surface in our last two league games has been a bit of a leveller in my opinion.

Just saying.

Ipswich

Portman Road is normally pretty lush, so I’m already in confident mood. But jokes aside, this is a tough one when you’re trying to bounce back.

Expect space to be at premium. Assume little to no time on the ball. Be prepared to scrap it out and take your chances.

The Tractor Boys are nestled in midtable, but just 6 points outside the play-offs. I think Mick is swimming against the tide a bit looking at the teams above them, but you never know.

If they do finish closer to the top, it will be because of their home record. 8 wins from 14 matches is as good as anyone (apart from Wolves).

They made life very difficult in the reverse fixture in December, but I think they’ll have to show more adventure as an attacking force at home and that could be to our advantage.

Wolves

I can’t fault Nuno for his team selection against Forest because I would have picked the same eleven.

And if a week in Marbella has revitalised everyone, it’s tough to consider wholesale change to a side that’s continually delivered.

Leo needs to get back among the goals sooner rather than later. I do expect another striker to come in before January is out.

I’d also like to see another midfielder too if possible. N’Diaye is an able deputy but I don’t want to rely on the potential of Morgan Gibbs-White to close the deal if injuries and suspensions pile up.

Ipswich

We haven’t experienced back-to-back league defeats this season. There, I’ve said it. But even tempting fate, I don’t think we’ll be derailed again.

Derby and Villa aren’t playing until Tuesday and Cardiff miss a week due to the FA Cup, so it’s an opportunity to put more daylight between ourselves and the chasers.

I’ll back us to do that, just.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

* Just a quick note guys. I’ve seen a few people uploading questionable images in the comment section. Please do respect the whole forum. I allow all comments on without moderation, but will begin holding them back and may even remove the picture upload option entirely if it’s being used in a way that I deem inappropriate. I know it’s all in good humour and of course it’s subjective but lets keep it comfortably away from Tabloid territory. Please email if you want further clarification. 

Wolves 1 Ipswich Town 0

Another game gone, another ghost exorcised.

The Dickensian Mick McCarthy, like a ghost of Christmas past, back to haunt us with his grim brand of pragmatism and lovable banter in the press conference.

Good old Mick. Having stalked the touchline next to his impotent sidekick Connor, he was to fashion an unlikely result from his Unlikely Lads before casting a crooked smile to thoughts of a £15 million holding midfielder. ‘World’s gone chuffing mad,’ he’d observe with a wry wink, delivered in obligatory Yorkshire gimmick.

Fuck off Mick.

Like so many scripts we’d conjured in our heads before kick-off, Nuno saw straight through it and dealt with the nightmare scenario with the ruthless efficiency to which we’re accustomed. A moment of magic from a bloke who’d have never seen the light of day under a bygone era and a general sense of calm, as we danced around Mick’s customary muck and nettles.

He’ll doubtless fester over our embarrassment of riches as he digests his turkey and Brussels sprouts, without giving a second thought to a quite laughably biased referee who gave his side most decisions. Maybe he was disappointed at his side’s play acting and cheating in the rare moments they did attack, with two players diving over themselves in feeble attempts to win penalties.

Not the brand of Corinthian spirit you’d associate with Top-Bloke-Mick, who at least proved that he can evolve. If Martyn Waghorn was called Diogo Jota then you sense he’d have reminded us all of such moments. ‘Not on my watch’, he’d growl.

Thankfully, we eventually got one over the old dinosaur and we move on to the next game, where Nuno will already be searching for more solutions.

With five minutes remaining it might all have been so different here, after Mick’s last throw of the dice almost reaped dividends. David McGoldrick almost justified one or two intakes of breath when introduced to the fray late on. He played a neat one-two and was in on goal. For a split second, an image of a fickle old man and a flying clipboard flashed across our minds, before Romain Saiss appeared from nowhere to intercept majestically.

It was a moment every bit as impressive as Cavaleiro’s in the first half, even if it fails to make the post-match highlights reel.

Having been starved of quality for so long, such contributions are appreciated all the more by a fan-base that knows that they’re not always easy to come by. Heck, under last season’s manager he wouldn’t have even played! It was a tackle quite emblematic of side which is laden with obvious quality, but underpinned by exertion. Ryan Bennett – another unsung hero – and another example of individual conquest.

Add it all up and the end result is barely believable. In real money it’s 54 points and 10 clear of third place, despite a selling-your-soul narrative that our detractors still portray.

But as a wise old ghost of Christmas past once said: ‘Opinions are like backsides — we’ve all got them but it’s not always wise to air them.’