Wolves 0 Wigan Athletic 1

Anyone reading the programme notes of Kevin Thelwell and Danny Batth who didn’t know better would think Wolves are a club riding an upward trajectory towards the upper echelons of the Championship.

According to Thelwell, ‘there is a feeling that everything is coming together and that there are promising and exciting times ahead’.

Batth, on the other hand, believes that Saturday’s defeat to Newcastle showed that ‘there was very little between us and them’ and that ‘we all came away from the game thinking that we are not too far away from where we want to be’.

I pride myself on being a positive thinker but the posturing of our Sporting Director and Captain, regardless of tonight’s result, is delusional.

Wolves are 18th in the table on merit and are in real danger of sinking further if they don’t learn to raise their game against opposition of Wigan’s ilk.

No disrespect to the Latics, but they were begging to be beaten tonight.

From the get go it was clear to see why Warren Joyce’s men have been entrenched in the bottom three for much of the season and yet we rarely pressured them.

In a similar vein to our showing at Burton Albion, our default tactic was to either hit long balls to an isolated frontman or play sidewards passes within our own half.

All too easy for the opposition, with only teenagers Bright Enobakhare and Connor Ronan attempting to drive play forward.

As the game dragged on, you could sense the familiar feeling of impending doom engulfing the terraces. We all knew what was coming.

And yet when Jake Buxton bundled in the winner late on, you can’t help but be apoplectic. How can a team self implode with such regularity?

The reality is that these sort of games simply expose the truth that Thelwell, Batth and co. are seemingly in denial of – we’re just not that good.

Morgan and Moxey’s reign of frugality left us with a spirited but ultimately limited and unexperienced squad that staved off relegation only by retaining togetherness and through the unpopular but ultimately effective tactical manoeuvrings of Kenny Jackett.

Rather than improve that group in the summer, Fosun empowered them by commissioning an agent led recruitment drive that saw us add an eclectic mix of nobodies of which only two – Bodvarsson and Costa – have thus far proved to be of any use.

What we’re seeing now is the results of such lax mismanagement – a team that is worse than the one that cantered to the League One title three seasons ago and indeed in real risk of taking us back there come the season’s end.

To perform with such brazen indifference tonight was an insult to the opposition and the fans, many of whom abandoned their better halves on Valentine’s night to endure proceedings.

If this season’s not to end in disaster, it simply cannot happen again.

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Wolves Vs Wigan Athletic Preview

Please don’t lose this one Wolves.

After such a positive start to the year, getting reeled in by the bottom three would put us on a right downer heading into the Chelsea game.

As stated in the match report, I felt the team were unlucky and toothless against Newcastle in almost equal parts. We can’t afford to be either tomorrow.

Let’s approach it with a positive attitude, play on the front foot from the start and get a useful result to push us up towards midtable.

I think that would also be a useful confidence boost before playing the best team in the country at the weekend.

Wigan

It was late heartbreak at Craven Cottage on Saturday for the Latics as Fulham turned the game around to secure a 94th minute 3-2 victory. What is it about Fulham?

That leaves Warren Joyce’s team five points off safety, albeit having played a game less than Burton in 21st. Not insurmountable by any stretch, but they’ll want to get a few more points on the board soon.

They’ve lost six of their last ten and won only twice, which is relegation form in itself so hardly a glowing endorsement for the manager who took over from Gary Caldwell in October.

I thought Caldwell might have been given a bit more time having got them out of League One at the first attempt, but I suppose that’s the nature of the Championship?

Scoring goals has been their major problem all season. They might have Will Grigg but even with him burning a path, they’re still the joint lowest scorers in the league with just 28 goals.

Wolves

I really feel Bodvarsson should be starting up front. Nouha Dicko looks shot of confidence and while the big Icelander hasn’t scored for yonks, he seems more likely to find the net sometime this year.

While we’re at it, I think Hause is unfortunate to be out of the team after some big performances at Stoke, Liverpool and Barnsley. Evans will likely get the nod with Jack Price ruled out.

I’m torn about whether Connor Ronan should start down the left. He’s a big talent but this is an important game that we need to win, so perhaps the experience of Weimann would be wiser, even though he was off colour at the weekend.

Ben Marshall is another contender but Paul Lambert has suggested he’s short of fitness so hard to know if he’d be considered ready yet.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

As part of my ‘be positive’ mantra, I’ll back us to get it done.

No doubt Michael Jacobs will score or their goal-shy forward line will ping one in from thirty yards, but hopefully we can overcome those kind of setbacks to win.

I suspect this might finally be the night for at least one of our forwards to shine.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!

Wigan Athletic 2 Wolves 1

As bad days at the office go, Sam Allardyce’s Tuesday will take some beating.

But losing his best player and losing in the last minute to the league’s bottom club wasn’t the plan Walter Zenga had contemplated over his morning espresso.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was ruled out with a minor groin injury and after that was announced an hour before kick off, you sensed a kick in that area for the rest of us was forthcoming.

That suspicion was confirmed minutes in when we were behind to the inevitable Adam Le Fondre goal.

So predictable that one of the former Wolves quartet would score it was almost a relief to get it out of the way early.

And once Prince Oniangue had brought us level with a smart finish from a Cavaleiro cut-back, hopes of an away victory soared.

But that period immediately before the break was to prove Wolves’ purple patch in a game that Wigan would ultimately wrestle away.

Their late winner wasn’t against the run of play but truly awful all the same, with a punt down the middle of the pitch causing the type of chaos you’d expect in an under 7s game as Batth and Iorfa floundered and Will Grigg profited.

Questions will inevitably be asked about Zenga’s substitutions as none were able to make meaningful impact or even help see out the contest for a not unpalatable point.

Paul Gladon in particular is labouring and the fact he was left out in the first place despite being the obvious replacement for Bodvarsson won’t have done much for his confidence.

Playing with Cavaleiro through the middle was an experiment worth trying, but suffice to say he was never going to offer the type of selfless hold-up play that Bodvarsson has perfected in recent months.

Whether the big Icelander makes it back on Saturday or not, it’s clear that Wolves must develop a Plan B if they’re to be considered credible contenders at the higher end of the table.

Otherwise more bad days at the office seem inevitable.