Wolves went down 2-1 in their first pre-season friendly at Crewe yesterday, fielding a different eleven in each half.
Every year there seems to be heated debate as to whether the scoreline matters in a game of this nature, but I don’t think there’s a definitive answer.
I certainly understand the argument that it’s a friendly and is more about building up fitness and the manager trying out a few ideas.
But surely any eleven Mick McCarthy puts out should be getting a result against a League Two side?
I also look back to pre-season 2008/9, where Wolves battered everyone, built up a real head of steam and started that campaign on fire, winning 7 of their first 8 games. That to me isn’t a coincidence.
With that in mind, I won’t be getting my knickers in a twist should defeat at Walsall follow but I’d certainly like to see Wolves pick up a few wins before they head to Ewood Park in August.
Moving back to yesterday’s action, here are 5 of my insights from the goings-on at Gresty Road.
1. Roger Johnson played the first 45 and got turned for Crewe’s opening goal. Despite this, he put in a solid performance by all accounts alongside Berra, winning plenty in the air, making several important blocks and even coming close to getting on the scoresheet himself.
I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t feel Johnson has too much to prove and I feel confident of what we’ll get from him. Yes, he might get put on his backside a few times by a nippy forward, but he’s strong and commanding and won’t give anything away for nothing. I expect he’ll be paired with each of the other three center-halves in upcoming friendlies to see which combination works best.
2. Nenad Milijas was impressive in his 45-minute cameo. Excellent delivery from set-pieces as usual, composed on the ball and came close with a 25-yarder. Despite the permanent signing of O’Hara and the arrival of Johnson making 442 more likely, I want to see the Serb in starting eleven as often as possible. Still the classiest midfielder we have in my opinion.
3. Mendez-Laing started the first 45 and looked strong according to Tim Nash. This lad was on loan at Peterborough last season and by all accounts did very well for them, featuring in 33 matches and scoring 5 times. Could he play some part this season? Would be nice to see him on the bench at least.
I think we’re all desperate to see young talent come through into the first team. Danny Batth, David Davis and left-back Jamie Reckford also featured at Gresty Road, so hopefully one of those lads will see some action this season, with all of them having been out on loan last season.
Although we should probably remember that a lot of our best youth players got game time last pre-season but only managed League Cup appearances inbetween long stints out at lower league clubs.
4. Sam Vokes and Leigh Griffiths both played and wasted decent chances. Can either of those players make an impact this season? I’ve never seen Griffiths play but Vokes to me looks like he needs a season of playing regularly to get his game up to speed. He’ll surely go out on loan again or be sold?
5. Michael Kightly played the second-half for Wolves in the center of midfield. I’d be very interested to see how he’d do in this position, particularly playing just off a front man in a 451. In the promotion winning season, he’d often drift inside, playing balls through for the strikers or running onto something himself. With Hunt, Hammill and Jarvis all out and out widemen, I reckon Kightly could certainly be utilised further inside. Maybe Mick thinks the same?
Anyway, just a few thoughts to kick-off the pre-season action.
As always, we’re interested in yours!