Wolves’ second successive relegation means they have become the first English club to drop from the first tier to the third tier in successive seasons twice. Poor boardroom decisions, appalling management, under-performing players were just some of the reasons Wolves have found themselves in the third tier for the first time since 1989.
In what can be only described as a traumatic season, there is however plenty to look forward to under new manager Kenny Jackett who looks to be making all the right steps in returning the famous midlands club back where they belong.
His first and only signing so far has been the experienced Welsh international Sam Ricketts who signed on a free transfer after being released from Bolton Wanderers. Jackett worked with Ricketts at Swansea City and has immediately named him captain for the new campaign. Jackett has also let some of the clubs top earners know that they are not a part of his plans next year: Jamie O’Hara, Roger Johnson, Karl Henry and Stephen Ward have all been put on the transfer list. Henry has expressed his desire to stay with his boyhood club but Jackett is keen to let him go so he can allow the younger midfielders a greater chance to shine.
One to watch for Wolves this season will be Scottish striker Leigh Griffiths who managed 22 league goals in 36 games last season along with eight assists. He has spent the last two seasons on loan to Hibernian but has been told he is a big part of Jackett’s plans and the youngster is keen to fire Wolves back to the Championship. He won ‘Young player of the Year’ last season which was voted by PFA Scotland, won the ‘SWFA Footballer of the Year’ and was included in the ‘SPL team of the Year’. Predominantly left-footed the 22-year-old is confident with both feet when in front of goal and also possesses great ability when it comes to dead ball situations where many of his goals have come from.
Having watched Wolves a great deal over the last few years, although adored by the fans George Elokobi is clearly the club’s weakest link. Having seen him exposed in the Premier league and in the Championship it is clear that Elokobi is one of our weakest defenders and even in League One I could see him struggling with pacey wingers most weeks. His distribution is poor and often rushes clearances which leads to us inviting more pressure. You can’t doubt the passion or effort of Elokobi but as a footballer he is technically flawed. I also feel that if Bakary Sako leaves which looks inevitable that Wolves lack a quality winger that can create chances for the forwards and contribute a goal threat themselves.
It is always hard to predict where a club will finish after a long 46-game-season but I am quietly confident with the strength in depth Wolves have that they can bounce back at the first time of asking and win the division outright. The club has quality throughout which has Premier league experience and Jackett is keen to focus on developing the youth players who have done well in this division before. Danny Batth spent time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday who won promotion from league one and Jake Cassidy is another player who managed 11 goals for Tranmere Rovers when on loan earlier on last season. Leigh Griffiths is a top quality striker that could play in most Championship sides and should be targeting at least 20-25 goals this season.