What would a Wolves side look like if Paul Lambert had stayed as head coach? Ben Husband imagines how events would have unfolded.
As Wolves prepare for their second league game of the season, Paul Lambert will be looking for his side to improve on their opening day stalemate with Middlesbrough as they head to Pride Park, a venue where Wolves have very few happy memories.
As we enter the last 3 weeks of the transfer window, we will look back on a relatively quiet summer
Where do Wolves sit as the transfer window clock begins to tick down?
If the summer of 2016 was a revolution under Fosun, 2017 has certainly been more of an evolution.
Lambert clearly stated that it was not his intention to sign a number of players and that his main priorities were moulding the squad in his image and trimming the players he didn’t see in his vision for Wolves.
Departures of Roman Saiss and Ivan Cavaleiro, to Amiens and Brighton respectively were the first bits of transfer activity.
It was a clear sign that Paul Lambert wanted a side filled with Championship experience and one that would hit the ground running come August.
Lambert was quick to replace Saiss with Gareth Barry from Everton.
The former England international was surplus to requirements after Koeman’s summer spending and jumped at the chance to return to the Midlands.
Following the arrival of Barry, Ryan Bennett was bought in on a free to replace the departing Richard Stearman and to partner Danny Batth as the first choice central defensive partnership.
Barry Douglas arrived from Konyaspor which helped to plug the left back position, Lambert’s self-professed number one target.
A player who has trod an unusual path, has undoubtedly been one of the stars of both pre-season and the Championship curtain raiser.
With the squad suitably altered, the next order of business was the pre-season camp in Austria.
Wolves had a disappointing time on the continent with the reverses against Werder Bremen (0-3) and FK Jablonec (1-2) but did perform well in a commendable 2-0 victory over Viktroia Plzen.
Before Wolves’ domestic friendlies with Peterborough and Shrewsbury, Lambert and Thelwell managed to bring Elliot Bennett back to Molineux from Lambert’s former side Blackburn.
They also finally managed to acquire the highly rated forwards Jordan Hugill from Preston in a reported £4m deal and completing a permanent deal for Andreas Weimann from Derby.
If the objective of Lambert’s early summer work was to hit the ground running, then the manager will have been delighted as Wolves outfought local rivals Shrewsbury 1-0.
It was a bruising encounter where the away side showed their credentials as one of the more direct, physical sides in the division.
Following the Shrewsbury game, Wolves were involved in an interesting, if low on quality game vs Peterborough.
It ultimately finished 2-2 following goals from Bodvarsson and Joe Mason.
With only weeks to go until the start of the season and Wolves seemingly happy with their incomings, it was more a case of keeping hold of players where needed and losing those not required.
Wallace and Gladon were both offloaded, whilst three offers came in and were subsequently rejected from Millwall for George Saville.
The final game of pre-season was a chastening experience as Premier League Leicester totally outclassed Wolves in front of a sparse Molineux to run out 4-1 winners.
Confidence was clearly at a very low ebb as passes went astray and fans became frustrated.
In front of Molineux’s lowest opening day crowd since the mid 90’s Wolves put in a stoic defensive performance to nullify bookie’s favourites Middlesbrough.
Although the home side struggled to create chances, they were physical, sat back and were happy to escape with a point.
Wolves now move onto Derby away.
The starting XI seems pretty settled and they will again be looking at keeping things tight at the back with a chance of nicking a goal on the break.
Lambert has continuously stated his business is done for the summer, but Wolves, without Helder Costa still seem light of a player that can unlock a defence.
Mason has flattered to deceive in the number 10 role and so this should still be the main target as we now enter the first run of Championship games.
Do you think Lambert’s summer business has been good enough to give Wolves a real chance of promotion? Comment below….