Wolves 1 Nottingham Forest 0

With four wins in succession, a dizzying Helder Costa goal still fresh in the memory and an eminently winnable fixture against Nottingham Forest ahead, the walk along Waterloo Road had never felt so breezy.

But alas, no Costa.

And while we were all thrilled to notch up a fifth win come the final whistle, it was an insight into how bereft we are without him.

For his spellbinding goal of the weekend against Cardiff, see compatriot Cavaleiro doing his best impression, sending the corner flag one way, then the other – after kicking the base of it when taking a short corner and getting it stuck between his legs.

It was a moment to define this particular spectacle but not the performance entirely, as we worked ferociously hard for the duration, to such an extent that you felt tired out just watching them.

Batth and Hause combined teak-toughness with intelligence, surely benefiting from the Evans / Edwards protection ahead of them.

Whether the team as a whole then benefits from the required amount of creativity thereafter is debateable but again, the Welshmen worked their backsides off admirably, hassling and harrying their opponents.

This was no small feature of the game, with Forest enjoying the lions’ share of possession and were surely frustrated as a result of our endeavours off the ball.

Marshall, while mildly more subdued that recent performances, again suggested he has the ability to be a mainstay of a promotion pushing side next season, while Andi Weimann’s contributions just get more and more noteworthy.

His outrageous work-rate off the ball was infectious and his assist for Dicko’s goal intelligent, representing one of very few moments where the right decision was made at the right time.

A potential man-of-the-match winner, possibly shading Conor Coady at right back, whose heroic intervention on the goal line not only acted as an unlikely assist for the winner 15 seconds later, but typified his recent performances in an alien position, which I would have scarcely thought believable weeks ago.

On the other flank, one of Matt Doherty’s customary forays upfield ended in a lovely pass to Weimann, who did the rest for Dicko to sweep home.

It was a beautifully worked moment from a pretty ugly affair, which resembled a practice match at times, and an unwitting homage to Helder Costa at others.

Quite where we’d be without him is anyone’s guess. Thankfully after this hard fought league win, it won’t be League One.

Wolves Vs Nottingham Forest Preview

Different teams present different challenges in this league, which is why you can never be sure about the result from one game to the next.

In Fulham and Cardiff, you couldn’t play two more contrasting sides so it’s pleasing that Wolves found a way to come out on top against both.

You look at the league table, our recent form and generally what’s been going on at the City Ground this season and you’d fancy us to make it five wins in five.

But the Championship rarely pans out like that and I expect Forest to provide a similarly stern test.

Forest

Admittedly, I know little about this current Forest outfit but they’ve got some useful individuals and a manager who seems to know what he’s doing.

That usually gets you most of the way there in this league, which is why I expect them to (just about) avoid relegation and come back stronger next time.

But Mark Warburton need only look at the table to know there isn’t much margin for error with just seven games to go.

They’re just two places and two points above the bottom three and have only managed two wins in their last ten matches.

Gutsy draws against Derby and Preston will have helped instill belief but their run-in isn’t too favourable so pressure is building.

Wolves

If he can name the same team again I think Paul Lambert should do just that. Why mess with the winning formula?

I’d put Ikeme back in if he’s fit and ready, but it’s as you were with the outfield personnel.

My gut instinct is he won’t be able to resist giving the likes of Bodvarsson, Dicko and Saville a run out, but he leaves himself open for criticism if the result then doesn’t go our way.

One more win should see us safe (looking at the remaining fixtures for everyone else) and this is as good a chance as any to get it, so we shouldn’t be saving legs just yet.

Andy Lonergan

Predictions

Got to be confident after four straight wins. Forest have the second worst away record in the league too. Only Rotherham have amassed less points.

Most bookies have us at a comfortable 5/6 for the win compared to Forest’s 10/3. If you’re confident and fancy a punt you may want to check out sites like Bonus Codes to browse the major free bet offers beforehand.

I think there’s lots of goals and creativity in this Wolves squad so even allowing for a new manager bounce, I expect us to do enough to keep this run going.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Nottingham Forest 0 Wolves 2

When we got to spend a bit of time with Paul Lambert last month I told him there were five players I felt were our key performers based on their contributions prior to his arrival.

They were Carl Ikeme, Matt Doherty, Dave Edwards, Helder Costa and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

With the possible exception of the big Icelander whose form has tailed off after that international break, none of the above have let me down.

Costa has continued to be our leading light, stepping up another level under Lambert by adding better end product.

He netted from the acutest of angles yesterday and was also instrumental in Ivan Cavaleiro’s second half goal – the two bright moments of an otherwise drab encounter.

That’s why he was brought in though – to help us rise above the opposition in these scrappy, horrible Championship slugfests by providing moments of greater quality.

Dave Edwards fulfilled a slightly different role as part of a two man midfield, using his energy to close down opposition and win back possession.

He did that with great aplomb and was rightly lauded as a Man of the Match contender.

Whatever you want to say about the guy, his goals and appetite to win the ball back have kept us afloat when we could have totally melted away.

Matt Doherty has arguably been our most potent attacking force behind Costa but many have questioned whether that’s come at the expense of his primary purpose.

There was less razzle dazzle yesterday in a more steady defensive outing for the Irishman.

Personally I wouldn’t want to put the leash on him going forward. Direct running from deep is tough to defend against. But I do agree he needs to defend with greater purpose and aggression himself.

Carl Ikeme just reassures in a way that Andy Lonergan and Harry Burgoyne perhaps don’t. That’s harsh on the youngster but we saw moments of brilliance and frailty against Cardiff, suggesting this isn’t his time just yet.

Our number one was strong and repeatedly cleared out the opposition as Forest looked for a way back into the game. We’ve got to keep him fit for the remainder of the season.

Bodvarsson is the only one of my recommended quintet who has fallen down the pecking order, but his role of impact substitute may help him come back refreshed in the new year.

But another game without a goal for our strikers surely won’t have slipped under the radar? Reinforcements are needed, even with young Bright Enobakhare looking well…bright in his second start under Lambert.

Thankfully Ivan Cavaleiro is discovering a healthy appetite for finishing and probably squeezes out Bodvarsson in my revised magic five.

I’m certain many disagree. So in the spirit of healthy debate – who makes it into yours?

Nottingham Forest Vs Wolves Preview

Prior to last weekend our excuse has been conceding early and conceding first.

 

But despite getting ahead in the opening minutes against both Fulham and Cardiff, we’ve only mustered a one point return.

They say good teams find a way to win, but at the moment the opposite seems true for Wolves.

It’s worrying times for Paul Lambert and he’ll already know there are some crippling deficiencies in this team that must be addressed in January.

In the meantime, this is another fixture against a team in and around us in the table. Another defeat would be difficult to swallow.

Forest

The good news for Wolves is that it looks like Forest’s two most dangerous players will be ruled out.

Both Henri Lansbury and Britt Assombalonga – who’ve both netted against Wolves in recent encounters – have got hamstring injuries.

Still, they’re among the league’s top scorers so will likely possess a threat from others like former Blues and Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner.

Despite a thumping at Derby and a draw at home to Preston their recent form hasn’t been too shabby. Three wins preceded those matches.

Off the field they’re trying to push through a takeover and from the outside looking in it seems like they need that fresh impetus.

Wolves

Where does Paul Lambert go from here? Given that our midfield has been almost non-existent, perhaps going two up top again wouldn’t be a bad call?

Neither Bodvarsson or Dicko are thriving as the lone striker so playing a more direct game might suit the players we’ve got.

I’d still be taking Iorfa out of the firing line, who I think has seriously struggled in recent months.

It seems likely Helder Costa will miss out so perhaps playing Teixeira or someone else slightly tucked in down the right could be an option?

Predictions

Call me an optimist but I think we might win this one. Not because I’m seeing the shoots of recovery or anything, more I just think Forest are there for the taking.

With the exception of Cardiff, many of the away performances haven’t been too awful even though results haven’t really gone our way.

I foresee another topsy-turvy encounter tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll come out on the right side of the scoreline.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Save

Nottingham Forest 1 Wolves 1

What do Dimitri Payet, Mesut Ozil and Dave Edwards have in common?

Forest Wolves

If an answer doesn’t immediately come to mind then you’re forgiven as there is a rather blatant gulf in class between our number four and the diminutive playmakers of West Ham and Arsenal.

Nonetheless, Deadly Dave now stars in a rendition of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ to match those belonging to his altogether more celebrated contemporaries.

It’s taken us eight years to come up with a song for the amiable Welshman and it’s fitting that a ditty has been found in this most dispiriting of seasons.

For all his endeavour, Edwards is an ordinary footballer and, whilst the dedication he shows on the pitch is fully deserving of appreciation from the terraces, it’s a tad depressing to think that we were hailing the trio of Dicko, Afobe and Sako during our last visit to the City Ground.

Still, we have long come to accept the reality of our situation under the M&M regime and the ordinariness of yesterday’s performance is therefore a far less bitter pill to swallow.

The first half was tedium on a par with the Rotherham game and, though we started the second half well, it was one way traffic after the break, with Carl Ikeme once again ensuring we escaped with a point in tact.

To put an optimist’s spin on things, Joe Mason put in his best performance for the club since signing and Dominic Iorfa was again imperious at centre back.

It was refreshing to hear Kenny Jackett talk in the week about building the team around Iorfa and I certainly hope that the board will support him in rejecting any offers for him from Premier League clubs.

Were there players of Iorfa’s ilk available throughout the rest of the team, I’d be looking to next season with optimism.

But the fact is that, even with the much missed Dicko and Graham to return, we are an average team and another season of mid table obscurity beckons without considerable investment being made.

I think we’ll all be glad to see the back of the 2015/2016 campaign and I just hope that KJ uses the summer to recharge his batters and refresh his approach because I’ve been totally bewildered by his tactics over the last few weeks. James Henry at number 10 and George Saville on the left is not a recipe for success at any level of football.

At least watching Nottingham Forest is a reminder that we are not the only set of supporters clinging to memories of better times.

Those times will come again, though when is anyone’s guess.

Nottingham Forest Vs Wolves Preview

Fortunately, scoring goals away from the barren wasteland that is Molineux hasn’t been a problem.

Wolves Forest

But unfortunately, letting them in has been.

Our last cleansheet was at the Mad Stad at the start of February and we didn’t even win. You can guess the score if you can’t remember it.

No fair really. Why do all these other teams get to escape the banquet of boredom?

For added misery this fixture will act as another timely reminder of our team’s demise, with Afobe and Sako both resplendent in last season’s victory at the City Ground.

Roll on the summer.

Forest

Nottingham_Forest_logo.svgThe Trees have been hand holding Wolves in the middle third of the table for most of the season and look to be treading water.

It seemed a touch harsh to give Dougie Freedman the push, given the various issues he had to contend with – injuries, embargoes, etc.

Paul Williams is in temporary charge until the end of the season and it will be interesting to see who they end up with. Maybe they’ll be one of the clubs rivaling Rotherham for Neil Warnock’s services? They probably should be.

Britt Assombalonga is close to regaining full fitness and he’ll be an asset for them if he gets a good pre-season under his belt before the next campaign.

Their home form reads won 7, drawn 7, lost 8, scored 24, conceded 25 so it’s textbook inconsistency. Like looking in a mirror.

Wolves

Kenny might as well keep experimenting, but realistically three or four new bodies are needed in the attacking third to give us any hope for next season.

Team for Rotherham

Here’s eleven players, but who knows whether any or all of them will play? Does anyone even care? It’s tough to feel enthusiastic about the team whoever gets a game at present.

Deslandes, Hunte and Enobakhare are all worth a start, but I’d definitely like to see Jed Wallace get a mini run in these two remaining fixtures. He was bright in his cameo last weekend.

Dave Edwards was, save for one bad miss, anonymous against Rotherham, but probably remains our greatest goal threat as the forwards continue to starve.

Le Fondre, Siggy, Mason – none of them are good enough. Clear out and start again.

Predictions

The most likely outcome is probably a draw, so that’s what I’m going with.

And yeah, what else is there to say?

1-1

Up The Wolves!