Ipswich Town 0 Wolves 0

When you’re celebrating a point at Ipswich Town – while frantically checking the results of Wigan Athletic, Burton Albion and their implications for the bottom three – then you know your season has plunged to new depths.

Worse still is the distinct possibility that our one shining light won’t be regarded as a sacred cow from here on in, as the presumable plan is to grind our way to 50 points with a team full of donkeys.

If this Jackett-esque pragmatism is what we should come to expect between now and the end of the season, then I’m not sure I can stomach much more and frankly, we may as well have kept Kenny in the first place?

Talk about running to stand still, as epitomised by the hopeless David Edwards, who isn’t so much a first team regular these days, but a nailed on, first-on-the-teamsheet starter with the captain’s band around his flailing arm.

Positives from last night, whilst listening to Mike Taylor on BBC WM, was an impressive outing by Romain Saiss, which shouldn’t come as a surprise being as every right-minded fan was calling for his inclusion for months.

Ben Marshall would appear to be improving game-by-game, with the ex-Blackburn man a coat of paint away from scoring for a second successive match. And a clean sheet is obviously good news, albeit against a side light on ability and attacking intent. The inclusion of Hause must surely be a factor here.

On paper, our team looks absolutely wretched, particularly without the one player that justifies an admission fee. On the pitch, it is similarly foul to look at, with George Saville crowbarred in at full back, Batth generally labouring and the aforementioned Edwards stretching our never-ending paradigm of mediocrity to a barely comprehendible timeframe. Meanwhile, the likes of Conor Coady, Lee Evans, Weimann and co loiter on the peripheries with minimal intent.

But the time for inquests must wait for another day. A squad given a £30 million shot in the arm is doing its inimitable worst to get out of this division and while results like this might eek them towards the lofty position of 20th, the accompanying performances might not.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

Where did it all go wrong?

After victory at Anfield and winning so convincingly at Barnsley a few days later, even the most pessimistic among us wouldn’t have foreseen five straight league defeats.

Paul Lambert is trying to remain upbeat but when you’re on the wrong end of the scoreline every week words start to sound a bit hollow.

We’re desperate for a win but even a scrappy point would help turn the tide. We could do with one of those tonight before hopefully doing what’s necessary against Rotherham on Saturday.

I just hope the players are feeling more confident than the rest of us.

Ipswich

Things looked like they were turning sour for Mick in Suffolk, but his team have dug in lately to put points on the board and elevate the Tractor Boys back towards midtable.

It couldn’t be more trademark McCarthy, grinding out a 1-0 at Villa Park and five draws to rack up one of the season’s uglier unbeaten runs.

I said it prior to Reading but that’s exactly what Wolves must do – fight and scrap for every single available point. We just haven’t done that well enough.

Goals have been a problem for Ipswich and they’re among the lowest scorers in the league. Losing talisman Daryl Murphy to Newcastle late on in the summer transfer window must have been a hammer blow.

Their form at Portman Road hasn’t been that impressive this season, with the atmosphere strained at times so hopefully Wolves can get on top and capitalise on any lingering unrest.

Wolves

Lambert ripped up the team and started again at Reading. I agreed with most of the changes apart from deploying George Saville at left back.

Here’s one possible lineup, but anyone could realistically start given that pretty much every player has had an opportunity in these five matches and not done the business.

Ivan Cavaleiro is back from injury but I’m not sure this is the type of environment he’d thrive in with Ipswich likely to make the game compact and physical.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

We should have enough to go to a very mediocre Ipswich and get a positive result but hard not to fear a sixth straight defeat.

Four points from the next two games should be the minimum aim though, so I’ll back us to get a draw tonight.

Just about.

1-1.

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Reading 2 Wolves 1

Yesterday’s game drew neither the fanfare or headlines to match Haye v Bellew but like other recent defeats was reminiscent of your average boxing match.

Wolves, ever the plucky underdog, rolled with the punches against a heavyweight foe but once again found themselves floored by full time.

Reading may have only claimed victory through two fortuitous goals but the reality was they never really needed to step out of second gear, despite the best efforts of Paul Lambert’s team.

This has become somewhat of a recurring theme, so much so I’m beginning to suspect we’re just not good enough for what has become an exceptionally competitive division.

The sight of George Saville ambling around at left back (a new nadir in Lambert tactical innovations) is unlikely to be erased from my mind anytime soon.

Similarly, another afternoon spent watching Connor Coady unsuccessfully impersonating a Championship midfielder left me evaluating my life choices.

However, as was recently pointed out by one of my neighbours in the North Bank, bemoaning the limitations of specific players is a fruitless exercise as the overriding fault with our current team is a collective matter rather than one lying with specific individuals.

Costa and Saiss aside, none of yesterday’s team stood out as being of the standard needed to get out of this division.

This of course is a major failing on the previous regime’s part, though some of the culprits remain knowingly at large.

What our owners will do about this in the long run is anyone’s guess but in the short term it’s left us dependent on the continued failings of Bristol City, Wigan and Rotherham.

And what a sorry state of affairs that is.

Reading Vs Wolves Preview

We’re in deep doo-doo.

Everyone seems to be winning apart from us, Rotherham and Bristol City.

Add to that we’ve got this tough looking trip to the Mad Stad followed up by another reunion with Mick McCarthy who we never beat.

That Rotherham match next weekend is already looking pivotal.

The other crumb of comfort is we have a few games in hand to try and establish more daylight, but we have to start digging out results fast.

Reading

I said it on one of their own fan sites this week – Reading were atrocious at Molineux back in August. We completely steamrollered them. Funny to think how our seasons have since diverged.

Fair play to Jaap Stam though, he stuck to his passing principles, the club backed him and results have been very good ever since.

They’ve taken a few stumbles in recent weeks, but then again they’ve had some difficult matches against the top brass. There’s no shame in losing to either Huddersfield or Brighton.

It’s bonkers that they’ve actually conceded one more goal than Wolves (45) and only scored eight more, yet find themselves 5th in the table – 25 points ahead of their opponents.

That’s the Championship though. You’re usually in most of the games but just have to find a way to consistently come out on top. Wolves have done the opposite.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder John Swift looks a great player and we should also be weary of big Jann Kermorgant up front who normally causes us pain.

Wolves

It’s annoying that neither Joe Mason or Ivan Cavaleiro are fit enough to play, as they would both start for me. From those available, this would be my team:

I’d revert to the back four that played so well against Stoke in the FA Cup and hope Dom Iorfa can rediscover some sort of form. His athleticism could help free up Costa a bit more too.

Saiss and Price holding and hopefully getting hold of the ball a bit more than we’ve managed in recent weeks.

Dicko up front on the basis he’s actually scored a goal now and could go on a run. Dave Edwards just behind, but with one simple remit – get in the box.

Costa must do more and Weimann also needs to demonstrate a greater goal threat than he has thus far.

Predictions

Got to go with the statistical probability that we’ll lose, so I’ll say 2-1 Reading.

But if our remaining games this season follow statistical probability we’re in a lot of trouble, so hoping to take at least something from the next two matches.

We’ve got to get into the habit of taking scruffy points when we can’t win. Even draws against Wigan and Burton in recent weeks would have moved us up the table a few places and afforded us breathing room. It’s maddening.

Do better lads because this is getting worrying.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 1 Birmingham City 2

I’m still trying to land on the most disappointing thing about this poxy defeat.

It might have been Carl Ikeme’s butter fingers that presented another toothless away side with a precious lead to cling onto.

Or it could be allowing David Davis the freedom of Molineux to spank in a second and mercilessly taunt the South Bank.

Or simply our one-paced midfield making David Davis look like Roy Keane.

Then again maybe it was our meagre attempts to cash in against ten men after Paul Robinson was rightly dismissed for being Paul Robinson.

Or perhaps our distribution out of defence and Danny Batth’s endless hoofs forward to nobody in particular.

It’s difficult to overlook Helder Costa’s repeatedly over hit crosses that robbed Wolves of any momentum in the early exchanges or his subsequent hour long vanishing act.

And we mustn’t forget yet another goalless game for Bodvarsson whose beginning to make Bjorn Sigurdarson look prolific by comparison.

How about Nouha Dicko, who did finally score, but still looks bored, uninterested and five yards off the pace?

Maybe it’s the manager, who promised so much in January but has delivered literally nothing in February.

Yes, it could be the naked statistics that show five defeats in a row for the month with just two goals scored in the process.

And the fact three of those defeats came against three of the worst teams in the division.

Actually, it’s probably none of those things.

It’s more the realisation that we’ve relinquished £25 million in transfer fees and ended up with a worse team than we had last season.

All this made worse still knowing that the owners, the academy, the stadium, the fan base and everything else you need to be successful are all there and it’s simply the case that the people in power are demonstrating a gross inability to just connect the dots.

I’m not stupid enough to expect instant success in such a competitive environment, but surely – surely – we can expect better than this?

Disappointing would be an understatement.

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Wolves Vs Birmingham City Preview

15 games to go and we probably need to win at least a third of them.

That takes us up to 50 points and then a handful of draws should see us safe from total catastrophe.

Molineux holds the key with winnable matches against Blues, Rotherham, Forest, Blackburn and Preston still to come.

I think we’ll just about get there but panic will really set in if we don’t start putting points on the board soon.

Looking at how things are going for Birmingham and Gianfranco Zola this has the feeling of a must-win.

Blues

After we brushed them aside at the start of the season I couldn’t believe  Gary Rowett managed to get Blues right up towards the top six again.

I was even more staggered that the club then decided to dispense with his services for seemingly no good reason at all.

They’ve been sinking like a stone ever since and come into this game (like Wolves) on the back of three straight losses.

Zola has only managed one win in 14 matches and suffered 9 defeats in a thus far traumatic return to management.

I always thought Rowett was getting the maximum out of a very average group of players, so it’s no great surprise the Italian has fallen short.

He’s started to bring in his own players and adjust the way they play, but that transition will never happen quickly so regardless of what happens in this game, I think they’re in for a bumpy ride between now and May.

Wolves

It’s disappointing that Connor Ronan has been all but ruled out for the remainder of the season. He’s been consistently very good.

The above is what I reckon the starting lineup might be if Joe Mason is fit enough to play.

He is the only striker / number 10 who seems to consistently get into good positions to score so has to play.

I like Enobakhare but end product has been in short supply despite some good runs and link up play.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

We’ve lost four games in a row and only scored one goal in that time, so we’re not in a good place.

The performances against Newcastle and Chelsea weren’t too bad, but Burton and Wigan were as bad as it gets.

My concern is that this game pans out more like the latter and we’re frustrated by another team who can’t buy a win.

I think we should win but I don’t have a lot of confidence so I’m climbing on the fence.

1-1.

Up The Wolves!

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