Season Previews 09/10 – Wolverhampton Wanderers

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wolves

Last Season: Promoted from Champioship (1st)

Say hello to your new teammates: Kevin Doyle, Ronad Zubar, Greg Halford, Andrew Surman, Nenad Milijas, Marcus Hahnemann.

Close the door on your way out: Stephen Gleeson, Darren Potter.

Predicted star: Slyvan Ebanks-Blake. A former Man Utd prospect, he moved to Plymouth and then Wolves and has progressed to a stage where he’s been top scorer in the Championship two seasons running. Still only 23, now is the time to see whether he can cut it in the top flight. Wolves’ attacking style of football will mean he gets plenty chances to score. Double figures in goals is certainly a possibility.

Needs a big year: Mick McCarthy oversaw a dreadful Sunderland side last time he was in the Premier League and he’ll be looking to show that he can manage at the highest level. He finally got Wolves up at the third attempt of trying and he’ll hope that they don’t go straight back down. In terms of players, most will need big years if they are to stay up.

How many can he score?

How many can he score?

One to watch: Nemad Milijas scored 22 goals for Red Star Belgrade last season while Michael Kightly provided 18 Championship assists. Expect to feature heavily in Wolves’ best play this season.

What they want to happen: Survival.

Nightmare scenario: Bottom while Birmingham or Burnley stay up.

Plan A: A strong spine will be supplemented by plenty of flair players who will look to attack at every opportunity. Ebanks-Blake will need to convert a high ratio of the chances created for him.

Plan B, just in case: We’ll score one more than you.

Predicted finish: 16th.

Why? I always believe that promoted teams who go for it are more likely to stay up. There’s no point being hard to beat but only ever picking up draws when you could go all out for a win every three weeks. In that respect Wolves have a great chance of staying up. Their defence is not the best but they have plenty of attacking options to gain enough wins to just about survive. Obviously not everyone will be able to transfer their Championship form to the Premier League but players like Ebanks-Blake should be able to make the step up. Kevin Doyle has already scored for Reading in the top flight and could form a good partnership with SEB.

Cheer up, it could be worse.

Cheer up, it could be worse.

Kightly is an interesting prospect but I think they’ll probably end up relying on Milijas more. As I was saying the defence could be better (52 goals conceded last year) but the signing of Zubar should go some way to solving that. As for Mick McCarthy he should cheer up a bit. People do slate him and I’m not convinced he’ll be the one to keep them up but if he just enjoyed things a little more than the media perception of him might change.

.

T.

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