Date: 8th August 2015
Venue: Ewood Park
The wait is almost over and finally the new season is nearly upon us.
As the final whistle blew in May’s 2014/15 season closer against Millwall, fans have been itching for the start of the next campaign to right the wrongs of last season. Finishing 7th and a mere four goals off the playoff places last season was tough to take, but impressive performances and some recent acquisitions have breathed new found hope into the following season.
For much of the summer there was a concern about the lack of signings for Wolves, with rivals such as Derby and Middlesbrough parting with big money to sign the top names. Jed Wallace from Portsmouth and Connor Coady from Huddersfield were the only two main signings for the majority of the summer and there was a big worry about the lack of fire power up front.
However as secretive as ever, Jackett came up with the goods this week by signing both Adam Le Fondre and Sheyi Ojo on season long loans from Cardiff City and Liverpool respectively. Le Fondre is a proven finisher and will provide real competition for places with Dicko and Afobe up top. Ojo however is a bit of an unknown quantity but the fact he is thought of so highly at Liverpool, at the tender age of just 18, means Jackett could well have a real talent on his hands this season.
Our opponents Blackburn on the other hand have had a less than impressive transfer window with a whole host of first team players leaving for pastures new. Forwards Joshua King and Rudy Gestede have joined Premier League’s Bournemouth and Aston Villa while midfielder Tom Cairney has joined Fulham. Star striker Jordan Rhodes has also been the recipient of a number of bids from Middlesbrough and its unknown whether he will still be a Rovers player come kick off on Saturday.
The transfer embargo has hampered Blackburn’s incomings and they have been limited to just free transfers to replace the big names that are leaving. Hopefully Wolves will be able to make the most of this and prove too much for a disjointed Rovers side.
Wolves have three wins out of their last three games at Ewood Park; including a 2-1 victory on the opening day of the 2011/12 season, the last opening game either team has played in the Premier League.
Ikeme, Iofra, Stearman, Hause, Golbourne, Henry, Coady, McDonald, Edwards, Afobe, Dicko
Richard Blackburn 0-1 Wolves
Ben Blackburn 0-2 Wolves
John Blackburn 1-1 Wolves
Lee Blackburn 1-3 Wolves
Graham Blackburn 0-1 Wolves
Craig Blackburn 0-2 Wolves
Club captain Grant Hanley is one player who has stuck with the club despite interest from elsewhere. At just 23-years-old, Hanley is an experienced centre half with nearly 150 appearances at Premier League and Championship level for the Lancashire side. Dicko, Afobe and Le Fondre should expect little room for mistakes with this no nonsense defender.
Kortney Hause has been given the task of replacing the injured Danny Batth at his favoured centre half position, after the 20-year old showed impressive performances during spells at left back last season. Though the jury is still out on whether Hause is good enough to partner Richard Stearman in the middle of defence, with errors in pre-season against both Aston Villa and Doncaster not helping his cause. Hopefully a good run of games, starting against Blackburn, will restore Jackett’s faith in his selection.
Head to Head-At Blackburn Rovers
First Goal Scorer
Jordan Rhodes 5/1
Bengali Koita 13/2
Chris Brown 13/2
Benik Afobe 11/2
Nouha Dicko 13/2
Adam Le Fondre 7/1