Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Sunday January 6 2008
They say that a win is a win, and at the moment, I'll happily take them any way they come, but Saturday's 2-1 victory over Conference League side Cambridge isn't one that will be long remembered.
One win in 8 games, that against a Conference side is not a happy statistic.
Doubly so when 4 of 7 league games were against teams placed 16th, 20th, 22nd and 24th in the table, and the rest against promotion rivals.
Once again, the Wolves forward line struggled to make the required impact against inferior opposition, only having their blushes spared by Michael Kightly and Neill Collins.
'We played well in the first half but couldn't score. That has been our Achilles heel. We need more of a killer instinct.'
Shades of Glenn Hoddle from Mick McCarthy.
Some may say the introduction of Kightly, returning from injury was inspired management, but the truth is, the side should not be looking to a player coming off the bench, not even one as influential as Kightly to give them the extra needed to overcome a Conference side.
Having laid out nearly £3m in the summer on strikers to compliment the 3 already in place, Wolves simply should be finding the net far more frequently than they are currently doing.
A promotion campaign cannot be maintained solely on a tight defence.
It's a sobering thought that the only team with a better defensive record have only scored 4 fewer goals, and Leicester City are in 21st place.
So far, both of McCarthy's million pound plus signings have fallen short of the instant returns many hoped for.
In fact, it's not a lie to say that none of the forwards aquired during his reign have yet to be classed as prolific.
Stephen Ward, Andy Keogh, Freddy Eastwood and even Jemal Johnson all made instant impacts, but then failed to maintain their initial form, causing the manager to juggle his options in search of that golden pairing.
True, Andy Keogh has turned out to be a tireless workhorse who makes up for his profligacy in front of goal by turning provider on a frequent basis, and Freddy Eastwood has shown in patches that he can terrify Championship defenders just as he did to their League 1 counterparts, but strikers are judged on one thing and one thing alone.
How many times they find the net.
No Wolves player has done that 5 times in all competitions this seasons.
Saturdays opener made Michael Kightly joint top scorer with Freddy Eastwood and Stephen Elliott on 4.
Elliott hasn't scored in open play since the end of November, and Freddy Eastwood not since the 25th of August.
The good news is Wolves main creative outlet is back, albeit for only half an hour so far, and although not exactly a cause for celebration, it is something worth smiling about.
As is the fact that last season's champions Sunderland were on the same points, 37, at this point last season, and two places worse off.
With the transfer window now open, Mick McCarthy has the opportunity to address that situation.
But it's a brave striker that joins a club that already has five forwards to call on, unless they happen to be an exceptional talent.
Mick McCarthy has said that he might be prepared to push the boat out for the right player, but exactly how far that might be is a matter of conjecture.
And it's not rocket science to realise that there would be little point in spending any of Steve Morgan's million unless it was on a striker SIGNIFICANTLY better than Wolves already have.
These are difficult times for Mick McCarthy, currently incurring the wrath of Molineux, and enduring the chant of 'You don't know what you're doing.' that has heralded the beginning of the end for his two predecessors.
Any talk of managerial change though, on the back of a run of four draws and three defeats does a gross disservice to the man who took over a squad in tatters and took them to three games from promotion in his initial season in charge.
But it's clear that something needs to be done. The return of King Kightly will help, but his influential presence will merely be papering over the cracks in Wolves promotion aspirations.
If a new striker to add to the surfeit already at McCarthy's disposal isn't the solution, then perhaps a replacement for Seyi George Olofinjana due to join up with Nigeria for the African Nations Cup may provide the impetus the side is currently lacking.
Having suffered another injury setback, his natural replacement Mark Davies finds himself back in the treatment room at a time when he could well have re established himself in the starting line up.
Whatever happens, there are 4 decisive months left of the season for McCarthy to galvanise his side into action.
Four months that could make or break Mick McCarthy's Molineux career.
Date:Sunday January 6 2008
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