At Wolverhampton Wanderers, it has certainly been an interesting few seasons. Now, they are facing a challenge for a late Championship Play-off spot. Can they do it? Are they ready for the Premier League? We try to dig a little deeper…
In the 2011/12 season, Wolves were relegated to the Championship. A big blow for all supporters, and everyone related to the club. However, confidence was at a surprising high, with everyone presuming that Wolves could find themselves back in the Premier League very soon. Unfortunately, after a very turbulent season, Wolves were facing relegation. It came down to the final game of the season; away at Brighton. Two goals from Kazenga LuaLua gave Brighton victory and cemented a second successive relegation for Wolves. They needed to secure 3 points and hope other results went their way to stay up, but their slim hopes evaporated when LuaLua cut inside to score after just five minutes. Wolves didn’t manage the 3 points they needed and were relegated to the third tier of English football.
So League 1 beckoned but Wolverhampton had an amazing season. In came Kenny Jackett as the new Wolves boss and his side picked up 28 wins on their way to promotion including a record-breaking nine-game consecutive winning streak. Kenny Jackett’s first season in charge of Wolves was hardly a bad one to say the least after they romped home to League 1 success at their first attempt.
So here Wolves are, back in the Championship. As it stands, they are just 4 points off a play-off spot. They are in a very good position, and if they can carry on recent form and string together back-to-back wins, they could finish in the top 6, despite their recent loss to AFC Bournemouth due to a controversial penalty decision. Wolves will feel they were unfortunate, as penalty claims were dismissed by the referee for a handball in The Cherries’ box. Wolves now have to face a challenging fixture against Watford at home on Saturday.
A win would put them right on the tails of the top 6 and give them a real opportunity to get in those precious places in the upcoming weeks, as they then have to play Brighton away and Sheffield Wednesday at home. Two potentially winnable games for wolves, but only if they keep a cool head and focus on scoring goals, with new signing Benik Afobe contributing recently. Kenny Jackett made the only addition to the club with Afobe for this exact reason, and it will be a big test for the youngster to perform when needed.
The club and fans would obviously love to reach play-offs and challenge for promotion to the Premier League,and re-live recent glory. It will be a tough challenge, with Ipswich (7th), Brentford (6th), Norwich (5th), Wolves themselves and even Nottingham Forest still able to finish in the 6th play-off spot, if they can also win back-to-back, and beat Wolves when they travel to The City Ground on Good Friday. (All positions listed are correct going into game 36)
Promotion to the premier league would also allow their stadium plan to continue to go ahead and increase Molineux’s capacity to beyond 40,000. The main question about Wolves and the Premier League is about survival. Would they survive? Would another season in the Championship allow them time to consolidate? After what would be claimed as some ‘silly mistakes’ and some poor results this season, fans from several clubs in the Championship including Wolves fans themselves would argue that an extra season in the Championship would benefit them greatly.
Personally, I think that Wolves will achieve a play-off spot of sixth place. Have a look at my personal top 7 after all 46 games below:
1st: Derby County
5th: AFC Bournemouth