MK Dons 1 Wolves 2

From 1ok to 1,653.

Wolves MK Dons

The fall in our travelling contingent since the last visit to Stadium MK, lay bare the extent to which apathy has taken root.

Back in March 2014, few could believe the speed in which Kenny Jackett and his new look team had managed to reinvigorate a club that had been left reeling after a succession of humiliating relegations.

As Liam McAlinden was besieged by teammates in the aftermath of his winning goal, many of us toasted a bright new era that would lay memories of the previous two years to rest.

To say that things haven’t quite developed as we’d hoped since then would be an understatement.

But at least we can celebrate the anomaly of a victory secured by goals from George Saville and Jack Price.

Few of us would have foreseen either starting ahead of Kevin McDonald at the beginning of this season but both are in on merit at present.

Price in particular is enjoying the best run of form to date in his fledgling Wolves career. Surely a permanent place in our starting eleven is now assured?

Saville also deserves plenty of credit for resuscitating a Molineux stint that looked certain to end prematurely after an underwhelming debut year.

On a good day, he brings both tenacity and vision to a midfield that has been lacking in both at different stages of the campaign.

James Henry made a major impact on proceedings upon his return to the team, laying on both goals and sparing his manager’s blushes whilst doing so.

I’ve not always been enamoured by the former Millwall man but, in this most perplexing of seasons, he’s my pick for Player of the Season as things stand.

At the very least, he’s brought maximum effort in the games in which he’s played and has weighed in with some important goals and assists along the way.

It of course helps that Henry and fellow winger Michael Zyro – who sadly appears to have fallen victim to another cruel injury – had a proper outlet at which to aim for the duration of the game.

Adam Le Fondre and Joe Mason would offer more of a goal threat if blindfolded than Bjorn Sigurdarson could ever hope to and we can only hope this is a reality that has finally dawned on Kenny Jackett after weeks of fruitless persistence with the hapless Icelander.

If a similar team to the one fielded tonight – namely one in which players are fielded in their correct positions – is selected regularly between now and our final fixture then we might just see enough to give us cause for optimism going into next season, though that is admittedly a remark once again made through rose tinted glasses.

Irrespective of what comes next, we can rest easy in the knowledge that at the very least we have memories of ‘1Ok to MK’ to call upon when bleak times come around.

To paraphrase one Fred Astaire, they can’t take that away from us.

MK Dons Vs Wolves Preview

I was looking at the team that 10,000 Wolves supporters roared towards a 1-0 win on our last visit to Stadium MK.

MK Dons

It was decidedly better than the eleven we’ll field tonight.*

And whoever you blame or whatever spin you put on it, I don’t think anyone would disagree that we’re worse now than we were in League One.

What’s disappointed me most is how imbalanced the team has become with players used out of position.

Although I recognise at times this has been out of necessity rather than design, it was never allowed to happen in Kenny Jackett’s first two seasons in charge.

And whoever is ultimately responsible for that is who should be held accountable. Sadly, due to the club’s multi-layered structure and tight lipped philosophy, we’ll never truly know.

MK Dons

MK_DonsWhen the Dons came to Molineux at the end of November, I thought they’d have a struggle on their hands to stay up and so it’s proven.

They weren’t particularly awful and of course ended up leaving with a point, but offered very little other than a semi-stern resistance to our one dimensional attacking play.

Karl Robinson said from the start of the season they’d be going in as the division’s lowest spenders and would always be the underdogs. At times they’ve threatened to dispel that idea, but entering the home straight they’re in big trouble.

Scoring goals has been the problem and their meager tally of just 33 is comfortably the lowest in the division.

Damaging back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Fulham coupled with Rotherham rising from the ashes leaves them four points from safety coming into this one.

Wolves

I’d like to see a couple of the more experienced pros given a go tonight, as any result other than a defeat practically guarantees our safety (if you’re still feeling twitchy):

Team for MK

McDonald and Henry would both improve Saturday’s starting lineup immeasurably and immediately restore some of that balance I referred to higher up.

I haven’t seen enough of Zyro yet to form a definitive opinion on what he can and can’t do. He was anonymous on Saturday but to say the service into him was minimal would be a great understatement.

The gaffer

Predictions

The fact that MK Dons rarely score and Wolves have been much stronger defensively of late gives me hope of a decent result, regardless of what KJ does with the team.

The pressure is on them to win and hopefully that will play into our hands. Or maybe I’m thinking of the best case scenario?

I’ll go for a narrow victory – 2-1

Up The Wolves!

* Team from that previous MK Dons fixture: Ikeme, Ricketts, Golbourne, McDonald, Batth, Stearman, Jacobs, Price, Dicko, Edwards, Henry

Wolves 0 MK Dons 0

When the winter freeze sets in, you always hope that a game of football can warm the cockles.

MK Dons Edwards

There was no chance of that Saturday. Instead we were made to endure one of the most laborious outings in recent Molineux history.

For weeks we’ve been telling ourselves that this Wolves team are too good to go down.

Unfortunately, I think it’s time for us to collectively take our heads out of the sand and accept that there is a real chance we could spend the second half of the season attempting to stave off relegation.

As defeatist as that sounds, it’s hard to argue against when you consider just how bad the opposition were at the weekend.

With all due respect to the MK Dons, I can’t recall seeing a team worse than them for some time. Slicing an improbable number of passes out of play and failing to muster a meaningful attempt on goal until the final throes of the game, they were inept at best.

Unfortunately, we were only marginally better. Whilst we dominated possession and got plenty of balls into the box, we never really looked like scoring. And, with almost half of the season gone, that’s a real cause for concern.

Our cause isn’t being helped by Benik Afobe’s perplexing insistence on dropping deep. Whilst I appreciate he got a goal at Ipswich last week, his influence on the team has waned considerably.

He was so ineffective today that I was actually hoping Grant Holt would be bought on (If anyone can shed any light on why we’ve signed him then I’m all ears).

Admittedly, he was one of many players guilty of wastefulness today. The key difference between Afobe and the rest of our attacking contingent, however, is that we naturally expect so much more from a player who was attracting Premier League interest not too long ago. If he can’t turn his meandering form around soon then it’s hard to see where the goals are going to come from.

Questions must of course be asked of our manager, who is looking more beleaguered by the week. His decision to haul the impressive Jordan Graham off after an hour was as frustrating for both its predictably and lack of sense.

Kenny is beginning to resemble a manager bereft of ideas and, given the considerable amount of good he has done over his tenure, we can only hope that changes sooner rather than later.

There’s still plenty of time for our team of fledglings to put an end to this malaise but this result certainly raises doubts about their ability to do so.

Anything other than victory at Rotherham next week should not – and most likely will not – be tolerated.