Date:Tuesday October 15 2013
As I was working in the East Midlands a week ago, I listened to the Notts County cup match on local radio at my sister-in-law`s home near Derby. According to the commentary, we played very badly and the visitors deservedly won, if only via the penalty shoot-out route. On Thursday I watched a recording of the match (thanks to the foresight of my wife), only to give up at half-time.
What made me stop was not exasperation at the poor quality of our play because we moved the ball around quite nicely at times. Rather, I became bored with the lack of what we Welshmen call 'hwyl`, that is, 'spirit`. When I was living in Wolverhampton we played with more passion in kickabouts in West Park! Mind you, most of the lads were Welsh.
Clearly, the players were not that bothered about the outcome of the match. Nor, it seems, were the spectators, who failed to spur the team on with their customary wall of sound. While a visit to Wembley would be nice, I think we have all decided that trips to Birmingham, Reading and Leeds &c. next season would be preferable.
It`s not as though the defeat will have more than a fleeting psychological effect. After all, we bounced back after the defeat at Morecambe with a thumping 4-0 victory against Gillingham four days later. Now, let`s do the same against Coventry this Saturday.
And there`s another reason why I am happy that we are out of the cup. It helps to free up our match schedule, with games already piling up because of international breaks. Take the postponed Carlisle match, for example, instead of having neatly spaced matches over the course of the next month we are having to play two games a week. And we have to win them, given that Leyton Orient and Peterborough both won last Saturday.
Moreover, tightening up the fixture list gives the manager extra headaches, whether in the form of team selection or in the greater risk of injury. Because so many of our players are involved in international matches, we suffer more than other division one teams. While I am pleased for the lads, so recognised, I worry about the injuries they might receive on international duty. Indeed, two of our key players, Doherty and Ricketts, are currently struggling to be fit for the tough game against Coventry in four days` time.
Thankfully, Kevin Doyle seems to have emerged unscathed from his encounter with Germany last Friday. Had he been playing against Notts County a week ago, we would have won the match. At the moment, he provides the spark which sets the whole team in motion. Without him, we lack cohesion, penetration and (apparently) motivation.
If soccer is a team game and the best sides are more than the sum total of their parts, the current WW outfit seem determined to prove that the opposite is true! An exceptional player can transform the fortunes of an entire team or, at least, make them play to the best of their ability. In effect, with Doyle providing the essential link-up play, the team does transcend the combined ability of its eleven parts.
I wrote after the Colchester game that I thought that KJ was beginning to find the right formation and combination of players. As a result, I started to think that we really could gain promotion this season. Even our lacklustre performance against Notts County has not dented my confidence because we will play with greater hwyl on Saturday. And, we will have Doyle on the field, running the show.
Date:Tuesday October 15 2013
Cost of relegation priced at £33.1million (Friday December 6 2013)
Henry to make Wolves return against MK (Thursday December 5 2013)
O'Hara move to Blackpool halted over money (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Batth talks ongoing (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Jackett left to rue missed chances (Monday December 2 2013)
Stats: Peterborough v Wolves (Saturday November 30 2013)
Blackpool ponder January move for O'Hara (Friday November 29 2013)
Goals will come for Sako (Thursday November 28 2013)
Victory over Tranmere pleases Jackett (Wednesday November 27 2013)
Stats: Wolves v Tranmere (Wednesday November 27 2013)
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