Archives for September 2014

Wolves Vs Huddersfield Town Preview

Kenny Jackett reckons ten matches offer requisite evidence for the league table to paint a fair and accurate picture.

Powell

Victory tomorrow in game ten will put his side top of the Championship table.

But win, lose or draw, Wolves can feel pretty good about their immediate prospects.

Nine solid performances, 18 hard earned points in the bank and absolutely zero evidence that last season’s shining stars are struggling to make the grade.

Goals might have been in short supply prior to Sunday’s bonanza, but in almost every other respect it’s been business as usual for Kenny and co.

Huddersfield

HuddersfieldTownCrestChris Powell has a job on his hands up in Yorkshire with the Terriers languishing at the bottom end of the table in a league where easy points for struggling sides are often in short supply.

They’ve got enough firepower in the shape of former Bradford man Nahki Wells, Championship stalwart John Stead and Grant Holt, freshly loaned in from Wigan.

But goals conceded has been a problem and the 19 they’ve shipped thus far means only Fulham (20) have a worse defence.

Mark Hudson was brought in to help plug the gaps and he’ll hope his second trip to Molineux this season ends better than his last outing for Cardiff, when his comical own goal surrendered the points with the final kick of the game.

Wolves

The answer to the question we’ve all been asking is Yannick Sagbo. The Hull striker was a surprising addition and I for one don’t know anywhere near enough about him to make a snap judgment. But he hasn’t come to sit on the bench, so we’ll all get the chance to judge.

Wolves Huddersfield

If Nouha Dicko is available, I would expect him to start with Leon Clarke still struggling to make an impact. Sagbo will presumably make the bench at the very least so it will be intriguing to see who Kenny Jackett omits from the squad to make space.

There’s a question mark over Matt Doherty’s fitness and if he doesn’t recover in time, Sam Ricketts and Ethan Ebanks-Landell are waiting in the wings. I’d like to see the skipper finally given a run out personally.

Options galore for Kenny tomorrow though and with the squad further strengthened, it’s just a matter of getting the balance right, which can often be easier said than done.

The gaffer

Predictions

Well done to the handful of people who predicted a draw at the Mad Stad. At one point or another, everyone probably felt confident their prediction was going to come to fruition.

I think Wolves will win this one to continue a 100% start to the season at Molineux.

Maintaining performance levels at home will be crucial too, as away wins are harder to come by in the Championship than they were in League One.

3-1

Up The Wolves

Reading 3 Wolves 3

I’m a big fan of statistics but matches like this one demonstrate how little they actually count for.

Evans Reading

Wolves boasted the meanest defence in the Football League as they made their way onto the pitch at the Madejski Stadium, but that was made a mockery of inside the first twenty minutes as they were soundly punished for switching off on a smart short corner routine.

Reading themselves then had an impressive record to maintain, having won every game they’d taken the lead in this season, but ended up grateful for just a share of the spoils.

Kenny Jackett will also be cursing the numbers after his side, who for a second consecutive away game came from behind to roar into the ascendancy, weren’t able to convert long periods of dominance into a hard fought victory.

After Bakary Sako’s viscous in swinging corner was bundled over the line to give Wolves the lead for a second time, that really should have been curtains.

Trying to see the game out with a short corner when there was still several minutes of regulation time left to play (and as it transpired, five additional ones added for injury) was a questionable move and ultimately cost them the win.

Seconds later the ball had been transported forward and Glenn Murray found requisite space on the edge of the area to power home a sweet, albeit deflected, strike into the top corner.

Mad Stad

The obvious plus for Wolves was the three goals scored in the absence of Nouha Dicko. The load can and should continue to be shared around as it was today and last season.

That said, Leon Clarke’s reputation certainly wasn’t enhanced by another game that seemed to pass him by. His languid style, particularly when deputising for a livewire like Dicko, will continue to draw unwanted attention unless the goals start rolling in.

By comparison, James Henry and Lee Evans can feel good about their respective strikes and all round performances. They both seem to be relishing the challenge of competition.

As do Wolves in fairness, who haven’t looked second best against any of the nine teams they’ve encountered thus far.

Two winnable home games await and despite my predilections, I’ll be reminding myself that there’s only one statistic that ultimately matters.

The gaffer

Reading Vs Wolves Preview

Osborn, Gilkes, Williams, Hahnemann, Doyle, Hunt, Henry, Golbourne and Gorkks.

Reading

To coin a clichéd phrase from matchday programmes up and down the land – ‘they’ve worn both shirts’ (with varying degrees of success). This isn’t the only link between the clubs in semi-recent history either.

Wolves last two promotions to the top flight have also come at the expense of the Royals, as the clubs have predominantly yoyoed around the leagues. And because of that yoyo-ing,  this is actually the first fixture between the two sides in over five and a half years.

Reading have fine Championship pedigree of course, winning it twice in the last decade. Nigel Adkins came within a point of taking them into the playoffs last season too as they narrowly missed out on the final day.

Reading

200px-Reading_FC.svgI’m not sure I fear a trip to the Mad Stad like I would have done in previous seasons, but that’s more to do with my confidence in Wolves own performance levels of late.

Perhaps I should be more worried though? Reading have won three of their four home matches so far with a defeat to Huddersfield the only blotch on an otherwise impeccable record.

They’re an attacking side with some good players like Simon Cox and former QPR forward Jamie Mackie. Defensively though there seem to be question marks.

A late defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last time out pushed them back towards midtable so they’ll be keen to reclaim some ground in front of the Sky cameras.

View from the opposition

Thanks to Royals supporter Dan from The Tilehurst End Blog, for giving me the inside scoop on his team’s progress:

Reading are very much a team in transition. Takeover drama off the pitch and a gigantic injury list on it means that we’re really not sure what our expectations should be this season. Certainly if you had a fully fit squad and a bit of cash to spend in January then you’d be expecting at least a play-off push but with key players like Jem Karacan, Garath McCleary and Danny Williams out until around Christmas and a starting lineup currently full of inexperienced academy products, we could just as easily get bogged down in midtable. Credit has to go to Nigel Adkins for the way he’s handled such dramas and while we’ve rarely been spectacular, we’ve been solid throughout the season and the only game we’ve looked outmatched in was a 4-0 hammering at Forest.

Wolves

Whether it was tiredness from Wolves or an increase in performance from Bolton, the second half last week dipped well below the standard we’ve come to expect. I felt a lot of that came down to the substitutions.

Wolves Reading

The above team has good balance and shape, two facets we’ve come to expect from a Kenny Jackett side. But in trying to shut the game down against Bolton, I felt the manager abandoned the principles that have largely served him well.

I’ve seen Tommy Rowe in two substitute cameos thus far and in both instances he looked out of position and off the pace. Hopefully there’s much more to come from him when he gets a more sustained run.

Our other summer addition, RvLP hasn’t featured in the last two games, which seems odd given that he’s been consistently strong, particularly at Molineux. Maybe he’ll return on Sunday?

The fitness of Nouha Dicko will also be crucial, as without his pace and power, the team is undeniably weaker.

The gaffer

Predictions

Well done to the plethora of people who correctly predicted victory over Bolton. With more points to play for in the PL this year, it’s great to see the changes in the table every week. It’s look more competitive than ever.

I really fancy our chances at the moment. Even when the performance levels dip, I feel Wolves are almost playing within themselves and can go to another gear if they really need to, as we saw after falling behind at Charlton.

We’re never brilliant in front of the cameras, but I think we’ll do enough to get a result and I’m going all in for the three points.

3-1

Up The Wolves