Archives for January 2014

Wolves Vs Bradford City Preview

Wolves were rightly accused of inactivity last January, as the club continued their journey towards League One.

James Henry Bradford

I don’t think the same criticism can be tabled this year. The manager seems to know exactly who he does and doesn’t want and is being backed to prune and shape the squad as he sees fit.

Along with the crucial acquisitions of Henry and Jacobs, the strikeforce has also been dramatically overhauled. Dicko and Clarke are in. Doyle, Griffiths and Sigurdarson could all be out by the end of today. Cassidy has already been dismissed for the season.

The major surgery that this squad needed back in May has been successfully performed. Deadweight has been removed, talented, hungry players have been added and I would bet good money the wage bill has been significantly reduced in the process.

I now look forward to home games again as we have have a manager and group of players all pulling in the right direction. We’re a good team to watch these days.

BradfordBradford_City_AFC

When Wolves won at Valley Parade earlier in the season, it was considered a milestone victory against a promotion rival.

Things have turned sour for City since then and they’ve plummeted towards midtable. They’ve also sold their talisman Nahki Wells to Huddersfield, which is a further blow to any aspirations they might have held.

The Bantams are without a win in their last 10 matches, drawing 7 and losing 3. Their last victory was way back at the end of November.

Still, they’re a tough nut to crack as both Preston and Leyton Orient found out in recent stalemates.

Wolves

Even if Doyle, Griffiths, Sigurdarson and Hennessey leave, there remains excellent competition for places. That’s a testament to the work the club have done from the summer to now. I would expect the same team as Tuesday tomorrow:

Wolves team for Bradford

If KJ wanted to revert to a more orthodox 442, he now has Leon Clarke, the league’s joint top-scorer, at his disposal. I imagine he and Dicko would make a good partnership at this level.

Whatever you think about Clarke’s previous, the club have done exactly what I hoped they’d do in the summer – poached a proven League One player.

With more big names heading for the exit, the squad might not look as strong to outsiders but I like the way we’re quietly going about our business. I think our young team will surprise a few people in the years to come.

The odds

Wolves are strong favourites for the win at 4/7. The draw is 10/3 and Bradford are outsiders at 21/4.

If you’d taken my tip from Tuesday and backed Kevin McDonald for the first goal, you’d be a few quid better off right now. He’s a generous 11/1 to get the opener again tomorrow.

New signing Leon Clarke is 7/2, while Aaron Mclean is Bradford’s most likely route to goal with odds of 17/2. All odds are available here.

The gaffer

Predictions

Well done to the 54 (practically everyone) who thought we’d win on Tuesday. Coops, Chris in Dublin and johnhpayne went all out for the 3-0, so deservedly doubled their tallies. Well done lads.

I think Bradford will cause us problems tomorrow with their physicality, but I just can’t predict anything other than a Wolves victory.

We’re getting on top of teams from the very start at Molineux and smothering them with smart, possession football. That’s very difficult to prevent on such a big pitch.

We might stutter, but I think we’ll prevail victorious.

3-1

Up The Wolves!

* P.s. due to my sister’s wedding tomorrow and Ben also being waylaid by a social engagement, does anyone fancy having a go at a match report? Email me if you can do it: tom@thomasbaughmedia.com.

Oldham Athletic 0 Wolves 3

Following a third successive victory at a historically difficult venue to conquer, a hypothetical head-scratcher got me thinking…

McDonald Oldham

…If Brentford and Leyton Orient both pass the 100 point barrier and beat us to promotion, would this season be a failure?

After arguably our most encouraging victory of the campaign – against a team more competitive than most – we are on course for an incredible points haul of 95 come the end of the season, were we to keep this up.

However, Brentford and Leyton Orient are on course to rewrite history, with 102 and 101 points on the cards respectively if they carry on in such outrageous fashion.

It begs the question: Can we possibly criticise this rapidly evolving team if it misses out to a ‘once-in-a-million’ freak season?

In any other year, a 3-0 win at Boundary Park would be regarded as a promotion defining benchmark.

Just our luck that we can also view it as a play-off cementing result, when we’d doubtless be 20 points clear of some god forsaken side.

For now, such questions can wait as we bask in a feeling that has eluded us for so long.

This 17th success of the season owed much to a resolute defensive showing, a spritely attacking display and a virtuoso performance by match winner Kevin McDonald.

According to Radio WM, the Scot resembled that big kid in the under-12 school team, whose growth spurt made him virtually untouchable.

Where our number 11 stood head and shoulders above the rest, Jack Price sounded like the perfect foil for him once more.

And when Jacobs and sub Henry added gloss to the scoreline late on, Kenny Jackett can point to three goalscorers who he signed himself.

Photo0089_0011

Winning at a difficult away ground is one thing, but standing up to a pretty physical onslaught is quite another.

Unlike those miserable Solbakken and Saunders seasons, we all appear to be in this together.

Couple such team spirit with Kenny’s astute additions and the combination appears irresistible.

Whether it’s potent enough to provide a positive answer to that question I had will soon become clear.

Highlights

Oldham Athletic Vs Wolves Preview

Oldham away on a blustery Tuesday evening is the sort of fixture that can make or break a promotion-chasing season.

Oldham Wolves

Digging out a result, particularly a win, you feel would be significant over a team we’ve already played three times this season.

The league match at Molineux back in October turned into a routine win after their goalie spilled a cross onto the foot of James Henry. But the performance was less than convincing.

Wolves weren’t as fortunate in the FA Cup where Oldham deservedly progressed after dominating the replay.

Kenny Jackett has been able to mastermind a significant increase in performance levels since then, so this promises to be an interesting encounter.

Oldham

Performance of the weekend belonged to the Latics as they battled back from 3-0 and 4-2 down to beat Peterborough 5-4 on Saturday.

Lee Johnson’s men needed that boost after narrow back-to-back defeats against Walsall and Port Vale had threatened to drag them back into relegation strife.

Their home form reads won 5, drawn 3, lost 4, scored 16, conceded 15 – so very little to pick out of that other than to expect a tight game.

When you take out the 9 goals that were shared around at the weekend, you realise how difficult it’s been for teams to take anything from Boundary Park this season.

Wolves

Other than resting players, there’s no real reason to change Saturday’s team. I just wonder if Kenny Jackett might be thinking of handing Sako a start?

Wolves team for Oldham

It’s hard to foresee Griffiths or Doyle starting given that both are being heavily linked with the exit door. If both were to leave you wonder whether one striker (Leon Clarke) would be enough to fill the void.

A couple of interesting days lie ahead, which I’m sure we’ll all be reflecting on in May as being pivotal to our season.

The odds

Wolves are favourites for the win at 11/10. Oldham are 14/5 and the draw is 5/2.

If you fancy Nouha Dicko to carry on where he left off on Saturday you can get 5/1 on him opening the scoring. Kevin McDonald came close against Bristol City and he’s long overdue a goal. He’s at 12/1.

All odds are available here.

The gaffer

Predictions

It was points galore again in the PL as 54 people correctly thought we’d overcome Bristol City.

11 pundits also got the 3-1 scoreline to double up so well done to all of them.

Really stuck on the fence for this one. I don’t think Oldham will let us dictate the play as we’ve been able to do at home in recent weeks.

But we have the far superior quality, so on that basis I’ll back us to edge it.

2-1

Up The Wolves