Archives for February 2014

Wolves Vs Port Vale Preview

Molineux has been a pleasant environment to inhabit this season.

Port Vale Wolves

This despite less than impressive early performances, which yielded points but gave little confidence.

In particular wins over the likes of Crawley and Swindon, who dominated those matches for vast periods, were considered welcome bonuses.

But in the last five or six home matches Wolves have been much more comfortable, stretching opposition with their improved brand of possession football.

Kenny Jackett heads into tomorrow’s game boasting 12 Molineux league victories from his 17 matches in charge, with just the disappointing losses against Walsall and MK Dons blotting a formidable record.

Port Vale

Port_Vale_logo.svgIt was a fairly even match up at Vale Park back in August until Wolves took the lead and eventually cantered away to a comfortable 3-1 win.

Tellingly, four of the Wolves players involved prominently that afternoon (Griffiths, Doyle, Sigurdarson and Ismail) have either left permanently or been sent away on loan. Two others (Davis and Forde) barely get a look in. It’s been a fast evolution for the team this year.

Micky Adams is doing a splendid job at Vale Park, especially when you consider that the club nearly went under just two years ago.

He’s managed to get them out of League Two and sitting comfortably inside the top half of League One. The play-offs are probably not quite within their reach but progress must be pleasing for all concerned.

Our old friend Lee Hughes is of course no longer at the club after leaving in the January transfer window. That will take some of the spice out of a fixture that is tentatively referred to as a derby.

Their away record is pretty poor with 10 defeats from their 16 matches to date. They have won 5 but having conceded 27 goals on their travels (7 more than Wolves have let in overall) it’s clear they can be got at.


It would be surprising if Kenny Jackett made any changes to the team that saw off Brentford last weekend. Every player is justifying their place on current performances so who could he possibly sacrifice?

Wolves team for Port Vale

With the stacked up midweek fixtures to come in March, fringe players like Dave Edwards, Lee Evans, Matt Doherty and hopefully Leon Clarke should all get considerable game time.

Whilst decent strength in depth exists to cover injuries, you wonder whether the loss of a key figure like Kevin McDonald or Nouha Dicko could be catered for?

The odds

Wolves are red hot favourites to win this one at 1/2. Port Vale are a generous 7/1 and the draw is 10/3.

Tom Pope is the visitors most likely first goalscorer at 10/1 and with 9 league goals this season, he could be a decent insurance bet.

Nouha Dicko has gone a couple of games without scoring, so if you fancy him to end the drought with tomorrow’s opener, he’s 15/4. All odds available here.

The gaffer


46 of you believers correctly thought we’d win at Brentford last week. Only Dalmation Wolf was audacious enough to go all out for the 3-0 win though. A well deserved double haul for him (or her).

The pessimist inside me is tempted to predict a reality check after last weekend’s dizzy heights. But I’ve realised I haven’t shown enough faith in my predictions this year.

I think we have a splendid manager and a good set of players. On our day we’d beat anyone in this league and probably most of the teams in the league above.

4-1 for me tomorrow.

Up The Wolves

Brentford 0 Wolves 3

Brentford’s admirable 19 game unbeaten run had led to suggestions that they’d ‘forgotten how to lose’.

Wolves Brentford

By 4.45pm yesterday afternoon, Wolves had dealt them a painful reminder.

And although the lop-sided scoreline might have raised an eyebrow, the result surprised nobody of an old-gold persuasion.

This sort of emphatic, statement-making performance has been bubbling to the surface for well over two months.

The fact that Kenny Jackett’s side were able to deliver it in arguably their greatest challenge to date just makes it all the more impressive.

Only James Henry knows if luck or judgment gave the visitors the lead, as his looping cross shot nestled in the corner of the net with the last kick of the first half.

But from that point on, all the characteristics that have made this Wolves side so successful in recent times strutted confidently to the fore.

They defended ‘stoutly’ (Kenny’s word not mine), broke away at pace and when opportunity presented itself, punished the opposition with ruthless efficiency.

The stability at the back has been there all season of course, ensuring that even when full throttle wasn’t fully engaged, the points were still being steadily accumulated.

But the arrival of Michael Jacobs and the switch to a more open, fluid formation, has added some much needed razzle-dazzle.

Nouha Dicko has been yet another shrewd addition, stretching defences with his powerful runs in behind, which create spaces for the likes of Jacobs, Sako and Henry to exploit.

And boy, are those three filling their boots.

Jacobs will deservedly grab the headlines for a second consecutive weekend, as his two excellent finishes took the game away from the league leaders.

But Bakary Sako was truly imperious, assisting both of those goals with the sort of quality that underlines just how vital it was for Wolves to retain his services.

The third goal in particular, which started with Scott Golbourne juggling the ball on the touchline before an outrageous Sako backheel opened the gates for the full-back to lay a cross into the patch of Jacobs, was a thing of beauty.

Had Barcelona scored it at the Etihad in midweek, it would still be getting dissected by studio hacks this morning.

In that respect, it was disappointing that nobody in the Brentford camp, including manager Mark Warburton, acknowledged the opposition’s performance.

Forgetting how to lose is one thing, forgetting how to be magnanimous in defeat is another.

Brentford Vs Wolves Preview

I remember looking at the table back in September/October time and all but writing Brentford off.

Wolves Brentford

An outside bet for the play-offs I thought, but definitely not going to trouble the automatic places.

I’d wager I’m not the only one with egg on my face though.

Even the most optimistic amongst their own supporters couldn’t have predicted the mind boggling run that’s taken them from middle table also-rans to League One pace setters.

And what a pace they are setting. Not even a tidy five game winning streak from Wolves could usurp them from top spot as their unbeaten run (currently standing at 19) plunders on.


Brentford logoWhen Uwe Rosler left town to take up the vacancy at Wigan, I again thought the wheels would fall off. But with Mark Warburton at the helm, they’ve just kept on rolling.

The Bees have the second best home record in the league (Wolves having taken 2 more points, albeit from 2 more games), notching an intimidating 12 wins at Griffin Park already this season.

There are goals throughout their side with the likes of top scorer Clayton Donaldson (14), Marcello Trotta (11) and Adam Forshaw (7) all getting on the scoresheet regularly.

Donaldson in particular was a real handful for Wolves earlier in the season at Molineux. Anything played diagonally to him in the air caused our defence problems. I expect a similar challenge tomorrow.

Anyone who saw their three long range goals at Crewe last weekend will also know that you can’t stand off them either. These multiple threats are a big part of the reason they’re doing so well.


As good as Brentford are, I still believe Wolves have the better players and on their day should be able to enforce their game on the league leaders. I expect the same starting XI as last weekend:

Wolves team for Brentford

Lots of chances are being created and I think we’re all just waiting for an afternoon when everything clicks and the goals start flying in. We’ll have to be more ruthless tomorrow than we’ve been in recent weeks.

Getting the likes of Sako and Jacobs into the game can be trickier away from Molineux, but if the supply line to them is decent I can’t believe we won’t score at least once.

Another cleansheet from our imperious defence would also be welcome. I think a lot of the reason we’ve conceded so few goals isn’t just good defending, it’s because we look after the ball so much better these days and claim a greater share of the possession. Long may that continue.

The odds

For probably the first time this season, Wolves aren’t favourite for the victory. The bookmakers give it to the hosts, who are 6/4. Wolves are just outside at 2/1 and the draw is 12/5.

Marcello Trotta is the likeliest first scorer at 11/2, with Nouha Dicko not far off at 6/1. If you fancy Michael Jacobs to pick up where he left off last week, he’s 10/1 to open the scoring.

All odds can be found here.

The gaffer


Well done to all 67 of you who thought Wolves would overcome Notts County last week. 16 also got the 2-0 scoreline correct to double their weekly point intake.

Could go either way this week. The bookies make Brentford slight favourites, which is probably about right with home advantage and the run they’ve been on. But I quietly fancy our chances.

Sitting on the fence though, with a score draw prediction.


Up The Wolves!