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Friday, 16 August 2013

The Inside Line: Wolves (17/08/13)

It's another big occasion at Ashton Gate on Saturday as our high-profile introduction to League One continues with a home match against pre-season title favourites Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Stu Radnedge spoke to Wolves blogger Thomas Baugh who runs the popular 'Wolves Blog' at http://www.wolvesblog.com/ and ascertained his views on the current goings-on at the fallen Black County giants.

Wolves suffered the same fate as City last year, being relegated from the Championship. How tough has it been being a fan and witnessing back-to-back relegations?
Awful. What was evident in both seasons was the total lack of any sort of team ethic. They were just a collection of individual players sellotaped together and asked to make the best of it. Additionally, all the managers that came and went had radically different ideas about how the team should be playing, which meant by the end of last season we had this weird, broken down McCarthy/Solbakken/Saunders hybrid. It was excruciating to watch.

I can recall Solbakken’s departure led to Dean Saunders being employed in the role – who was very confident Wolves would survive. What happened last season at Molineux?
Solbakken had visions of total football but the board went ahead and sold the only players we had capable of implementing this sort of approach (Kightly, Jarvis, Fletcher, Guedioura, Milijas). When his foreign recruits got injured early in the season, the wheels fell off and he got the bullet. Saunders was supposedly brought in so the knuckleheads in our squad could relate to his more simplistic strategy. Suffice to say this didn't work out and his points/games ratio was even worse than his predecessor's.  

Can I ask your feelings of Wolves owner Steve Morgan? Was he partly to blame for the two failed appointments of last season?
Hard to say really. The blame for the string of bad decisions certainly lies somewhere between Morgan and chief executive Jez Moxey. I feel Steve Morgan has good intentions but is advised poorly. Moxey is a money man and prioritises balancing the books over balancing the squad. I do blame them both for where we now find ourselves, but there are small indications lessons have been learned. 

Kenny Jackett is now at the helm – how’s this going for the club?
Very well so far. He's a likeable character, makes the right noises and has the fans firmly onside. Tougher challenges lie ahead though. The ins and outs before the end of August will determine just how tough those challenges are.

"It's hard to think abut Bristol City v Wolves without thinking back to one infamous encounter..."

With a squad that, it could be argued, still has Premier League quality in it – who should City fans be fearful of?
If last weekend's demolition of Gillingham is anything to go by Leigh Griffiths is the one to watch. He's just so sharp and confident in front of goal, I'd back him to score every week. Doyle tends to enjoy playing at Ashton Gate and he was another who played very well last week, linking up the play and making clever runs. Sako is capable of pulling a rabbit out the hat and his unpredictability is often a potent weapon.

Can I have a prediction for the match?
Tough one this. I think our young team will be vulnerable away from Molineux. The midfield in particular is lightweight so there's a danger they'll get bullied. You also had a disappointing result last weekend and will be keen to bounce back. On the other hand, we normally do well against you lot. I'll sit on the fence and go for a 2-2.

Thanks to Thomas and Stu for this preview.  Whatever happens on Saturday it seems likely that Wolves will be one of the teams standing between us and a chance of promotion chance, so let's hope we can gain an early advantage and notch our first three points of the season.  A 1-0 winner in the 90th minute will do just nicely...

Anyone else want to make a score prediction?

The Exiled Robin

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