Archives for July 2013

Preston North End Vs Wolves Preview

If the near 5,000 contingent of Wolves supporters heading to Deepdale is anything to go by, optimism has returned.

Kevin Davies Preston

I think Kenny Jackett deserves a lot of credit for that.

He’s done everything within his power to cultivate a strong relationship between himself, the team and the fans.

There’s now a genuine sense, for the first time in a long time, that we’re all in it together. That’s a very good place to start from.

Still, quite how much can realistically be expected from his young side is another matter completely.

For all the positives to come out of pre-season, nobody can say with any degree of certainty what this team is capable of doing until the competitive action starts.

I remain optimistic about our prospects, but cautious at the same time given that we’ve only added one player (a free transfer) to the squad.

Preston

The last time we visited Deepdale, Chris Iwelumo scored a superb hat-trick in a 3-1 win before getting himself sent off for a headbutt. Wolves went up to the Premier League as champions that year and Preston made the play-offs.

The Lilywhites finished midtable last season with Simon Grayson taking charge late in the day. Given his past success with Leeds and Huddersfield, you would think he’d be a good appointment at this level.

A quick look at this thread on a Preston fans forum suggests they feel promotion is a realistic objective. If that’s the case this should be a good barometer to see how our young side are shaping up.

Kevin Davies has been their marquee summer signing and, as he always does, will be causing lots of problems on Saturday. I’m not seeing many other names I’m familiar with in their squad. That could be a good or bad thing.

They won 8, drew 9 and lost 6 at Deepdale last season, which is a solid enough record. However, they’ll need to do better this time if they’re too mount a serious promotion charge.

Wolves

It’s likely that only 2 players (Elokobi and Sako) who started the game at Brighton back in May will be in the team on Saturday. That’s a good thing. Based on last weekend’s defeat to Real Betis, I would think the team will shape up like this:

Wolves XI Preston

That eleven shouldn’t be short of goals. I’m particularly excited to see if Leigh Griffiths can continue scoring regularly and if Sigurdarson can find consistency.

The defence continues to leak goals, but I look at that back four and believe it’s perfectly adequate for League One. I think Wolves’ defensive problems stem from how they defend as a team, not just as a back line.

I think if you take Sako out of the side we’re definitely short in the creative stakes. At some point we’re going to need at least one of Ismail, Forde or Boukari to make an impact.

Midfield is the area of concern for me so I’m hoping David Davis really finds his feet this season, Lee Evans lives up to the hype and Dave Edwards remains fit long enough to deliver.

The odds

Preston are slight favourites for this fixture with odds of 8/5 on the home win.

Wolves are just outside that at 17/10 and if you fancy the draw it’s 9/4.

A repeat of the 3-1 victory Wolves secured on their last visit to Deepdale, is available at odds of 20/1.

Predictions

The Wolves Blog Prediction League is once again open for business and as always, anyone can join in.

Simply leave your predicted scoreline for the game as a comment below and I’ll collate the results. Easy.

It’s 1 point for getting the correct outcome (e.g. a Wolves victory, a draw or a loss) and 2 points if you also get the scoreline correct.

As we’ve won one and lost one of our last two opening day fixtures, I’ll go for a draw.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.

Cards on the table

Nothing quite beats the immense smugness of being proven right, especially when it comes to football.

Dave Edwards

Admit it, we’ve all savoured that elevated sense of self worth when our personal little prophecies come to fruition.

I felt like Rain Man for a week after correctly predicting back-to-back 3-1 victories a few seasons back. Halcyon times.

Too often though these moments of inspiration are lost, meaning we’re robbed of the opportunity to revel in our genius.

To this end, I’m giving you all now the opportunity to make one (or as many) predictions as you like about the season ahead for our beloved club.

Think of this post as a time capsule that we’ll bury deep into the Wolves Blog archive, to be unearthed at the end of May when we can celebrate those who were gloriously correct and commiserate (mock) the woefully wrong.

I’ll get the ball rolling with three of my own:

1. Wolves will finish in the top 6, but fall short of automatic promotion.

2. Richard Stearman will be our best performing defender.

3. Dave Edwards will score at least 10 goals.

I also put the challenge out on Twitter, so here are a few of the predictions I collected on there:

Martin Swain prediction

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 10.13.31 Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 10.13.44 Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 10.14.00
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As we sing to Norwich fans then, lets be having you.

From the sensible and reasoned to the downright outlandish, I want to hear them.

Put your cards on the table.

Wolves 2 Real Betis 3 (video highlights)