It’s been a tough old month for Wolves. David Evans looks back at a forgetful February and explains why March could be their saving grace.
Remember when we got all that money and thought we would be in the Champions League in five years time?
Well, that fantasy is still there, the route to get there however may not be the one we expected.
From sheer joy to sheer panic, Wolves season in recent weeks has taken an unexpected turn for the worse. One of the richest clubs in the country see a possibility of relegation back to League One, three seasons after their initial secondment.
This is something even Fosun wouldn’t have envisioned and their long term commitment to the club will easily be tested after only one year. The embarrassment this could cause them back home is something they would wish to avoid.
After a fearless January, Wolves have descended into a fearful February, creating one of their worst second month’s of the year on record.
Wolves are only four points off the relegation zone following their fourth straight league defeat in a row, and in a fortnight they could be plunged into its depths.
Fans may be naturally looking for the negatives, but the similarities to our relegation during the 2012/13 are becoming more similar by the week. Wolves are in free fall and they need to open up the parachute to safety.
A month has seen heroes turn into the villain’s, with views on Lambert’s position already starting to seep between the woodwork.
Two celebrated players, Kortney Hause and Jordan Graham, have also been disciplined for their condition to train last week.
The heroics of Anfield and the proud performance of Chelsea are a distant memory, replaced by the missed opportunities of Wigan and Birmingham City.
Where as Wolves should have achieved at least three combined points in potential draws against Burton, Newcastle and Wigan, concerntration, controversy and a lack of a goal threat has been the running theme during February.
The celebration of Helder Costa’s permanent signing has gone, in it’s place, a player who is quieter on the field than previous by being targeted more by the opposition, doubled up and exposing the lack of avenues the team can rely on.
A Costa injury for the rest of the season? It would be the icing on the 12/13 relegation parody cake (I am not wishing for a Costa injury here!).
Players celebrated as the new era of Wolves and those who have shown their long term commitments are being pitchforked out of Molineux.
Recent results have given ammunition for fans to question certain players abilities and whether some have already outstayed their stay.
Since November, Lambert has had a chance to assess his squad and make an impact. He’s had plenty of time trim the fat. We don’t see what happens behind the scenes, but it seems Lambert has gone for tried and tested experience rather than some hopeful shots in the dark.
There is no denying that Lambert needs to shake things up and the time has come for those who have proven themselves previously to come into the fray. However, don’t expect his persistence with this ‘group’ to change, but to continue as a sign of faith in this crop.
Wolves season has turned from triumph to turmoil in just under a month. The side now seem bereft of confidence on the field. A stark contrast to the month before. Its surprising what a few weeks can do.
With 14 games to go, two of which are games in hand, they still have time to turn things around.
If Wolves faltered in February, then March could be their miracle.
Wolves home record has been abysmal this season, but their performances on the road could be their saving grace.
Four of the five away ties in March are away from home, with one very important home fixture against relegation bound Rotherham United.
Although two ties are against promotion chasing Fulham and Reading, Lambert’s men tend to perform better against those they don’t expect to beat. Away games to Ipswich and game in hand one of two against Brentford will be vital to Wolves survival chances.
Away from home, Wolves soak up the pressure and storm on the counter. The pace of Bright, Costa, Dicko and Weimann will be key.
Wolves will also be encouraged to see a striker FINALLY on the scoresheet. Some may still question Mason’s role as either a No.10 or a striker with his goal against Aston Villa last month, so Dicko’s goal in Wolves 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City at least finally ticked this box.
Dicko was unlucky not score from a header a few minutes later and looked more sharp than previous games.
The hope is that with this goal, his first in just over a year and a half finally under his belt, the floodgates may just open.
Bodvarrson has been unlucky in previous outings not to make his contribution, with QPR, Stoke and Liverpool key examples. Hopefully it will be the case of ‘If you score them, they will come’.
Wolves are in risky territory. The history books will show that relegation to League One four years ago helped to re-boot the club. However, it wouldn’t be the same scenario this time around. Fan’s accepted their fate previously, they may not do so easily again.
There could be more pain along the way, but now is a time for support. It’s easier said than done, but it’s time to put down the pitchforks and ride the storm with all the unearthly weather and near disaster that will be thrown at us.
Hopefully, come May, we will have waded through the storm and will sail the calmer waters on the other side.