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About Time

Stuck at home because of a knee operation, 'watching` the match on the WW Blogger made me impatient to get back on my feet: I should be at Molineux. With no freeview sites available (welcome to the Championship), out of range of Beacon Radio (in Surrey) and unwilling to pay for the official broadcast (having lost money on it last year), I had to make do with Paul and Otto.

I am therefore writing this report virtually blind. Even so, the outline of the game is fairly easy to discern. Clearly, this was a much better performance than our nervy display against Leeds at the weekend. Perhaps Stale`s message is beginning to get through. We seemed more comfortable on the ball, passed it around more effectively and put more pressure on the opposition.

And, we scored three goals. Looking at them on Sky Sports, I was impressed with the build-up play and the clinical finishing. Can we safely sell Fletcher then? Well, not really because it seemed that we still lacked a cutting edge up-front for much of the game. In the 60th. minute I wrote in my notebook that we had only scored one goal in spite of all the pressure, and that the old Championship SEB would have buried a number of the chances that had already presented themselves. Immediately, he scored, latching on to a great through ball from Doyle.

SEB still has much to prove, however. Indeed, most reports rated Doyle more highly and thought that he was unlucky not to score ... but that`s another reason why Fletcher is so valuable. It also seems as though Doyle linked up much better with Sigurdarson and that they could form the more effective partnership. Indeed, both of them almost scored at the end of the game. I think they offer the greater potential if we have to sell Fletcher.

And that is looking increasingly likely. Specifically, everyone now realises that we need to strengthen our defence. On Saturday only Johnson enhanced his reputation but Stearman alone paid the price. If Zubar and Ward performed better yesterday that probably was due to the absence of pressure. The defence still gave away a soft goal: Ward backed off Etuhu, allowing him to cross to the unmarked Cywka, whom Berra had lost in the box. If the rumour that Batth is going out on loan is correct, that suggests that Fletcher is leaving and that we already have a new CD lined up.

One of the main reasons why we won the game was our dominance in midfield. Doumbia was immense, a tower of strength with the ball at his feet and a crucial pivot in the team`s play . In my mind,I was recalling the exploits of Frimpong last season. It also seems as though he has fired up Henry, who revelled in the occasion. A power duo in the middle would be a real bonus .

If Fletcher is destined to leave, the same is not necessarily true of Jarvis. Matt had an even better game than he had against Leeds and clearly still sees himself as a Wolves player. On the other wing, Peszko`s performance indicates that there is still life on our right flank after Kightly. His perfect cross to Edwards accounted for our third goal. He can only improve as he gets fitter and more attuned to the pace of the English game. I only hope that RJ does not lead him astray!

So, have we turned the corner? Not all of them ... perhaps the confidence one but not the one that leads to defensive stability or the capability to pot chances at the other end. We still need time to adapt to SS`s tactics too. We sported two wide men,for instance, though reports suggest that Peszko was being told to cut inside whenever possible. Nonetheless, we have something to build on, especially if we acquire a couple of capable defenders, a creative midfielder (in O`Hara`s absence and Milijas`s departure) and a effective striker (will Siggurdarson grow into the job?).

I was so excited at the result yesterday that I was formulating a strategy to get to Molineux for the Derby game on Saturday in spite of my dodgy knee. I even spoke of it to my wife, who coldly reminded me that 25 August is our 39th. wedding anniversary. So, it`s going to be difficult.

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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday August 22 2012

Time: 9:15AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I too couldnt get a bleeding stream, but the reports ive read so far paint a better picture than last time out. In point form Ward is a very talented player going forward. this is why he once played there, and should be a backup for SEB/DOYLE/SIGGY Hammil is fantastic on the wing, why not have him as extra competition down the flanks We still need at least 1 (pref 2) defenders. Feels good to get the win (our first since December apparently) lets hope confidence starts to trickle in - and that Stale gets the targets he is after before the window closes. UTW
Report Abuse
22/08/2012 09:53:00

Sky sports report West Ham make improved offer of ten million for M Jarvis accept now get some decent defenders in.
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22/08/2012 11:57:00

Ok...brief rundown from someone who was there. Barnsley were very very poor which worked well for us, being a side lacking in confidence. Play was fluid, patient possession football using simple, short passing. A European style stamp already seems to be being impressed on the players. We played a high line in defence which was Captained by RJ who was brilliant. Fletchers head may have gone...looks like RJ's is back on. If he continues to play like this all will be forgiven very quickly. Berra did ok and in my opinion is better than Stearman in that role. Zubes had another cracker, controlling that rightside with plenty of forward momentum. Ward is deffo a better forward player than he is a LB...NO SURPRISE THERE!!!! Jarvo was...well, Jarvo. Henry and Doumbia looked really comfortable together in the centre. I think Doumbia would easily grace a Premiership team...he has pace, strength , a footballing brain and good distribution. Upfront...hmmm!!!! Doyle IMHO is not a striker....more of an attacking midfielder...he holds the ball up brilliantly and causes problems but will he score 20 goals this season ???? SEB will score goals but I think Siggy once he has settled in will be the main man. Overall I think the Stale effect is starting to sink in. I watched players lose the ball then track back the full length of the pitch to get it back, I saw unity and a clearer understanding about what was expected than against Leeds. I know it's early days and I said Barnsley were poor but the signs are pretty good. Stiffer opposition will provide a real bench test but on the whole with a couple of additions I would be very upset if we didn't make the playoffs at worst.
Report Abuse
22/08/2012 12:38:00

Phew! From your report, Rustmonkey, it appears as though I got it more or less right. It's also pleasing to note that you think that SS is beginning to bang the team into shape. Doumbia is clearly going to be our key player and I only hope that we have a first refusal clause written into his loan agreement. Now, if only we can find a quality CD and LB from somewhere.
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22/08/2012 13:54:00


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