When the fixtures come out next Wednesday, there’ll be one game midfielder Stephen Gleeson will look for straight away.
Following their relegation from the Championship last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers will compete in League 1 in 2013/14 for the first time since 1988 and ex-Wolves midfielder Gleeson is itching to return to the club he began his footballing career with.
Born in Dublin, Gleeson moved over to England as a youngster and after coming through the academy ranks at Molineux, the industrious midfielder signed his first professional contract with Wolves in 2006.
Gleeson only made four appearances in the gold of Wolves but still has fond memories of his time in the West Midlands and the 24-year-old is looking forward to seeing some old faces when the Dons travel along the M6 this season.
Speaking to mkdons.com last month, the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international said: “It’ll be a nice feeling to go there but also a strange one at the same time because there are lot of people there that have put everything into that football club and, because of where they are now, they might not be there next year.
“I hope the good people there are looked after and hopefully they can put together a team next season that will get them back to where they belong.”
Getting 'back to where they belong' is something new manager Kenny Jackett is eager to do as soon as possible. Three years ago, Wolves would have been preparing to face the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in the Premier League but two disappointing seasons on the spin has seen the Wolverhampton outfit drop into English football’s third tier, becoming one of only 12 teams to have suffered successive relegations from the Premier League and the Championship.
And Gleeson, who was on the books at Molineux during their better years, admits it’s a sad sight to see for an ex-Wolves man.
“When I left Wolves to join the Dons they were in the Premier League so if you said to be back then that in three or four years they’d be in League One, I would have never have believed you.
“It’s a Club I hold in high esteem and everybody who I knew while I was there treated me well. It’s sad to see because there are a lot of good people there both on and off the pitch. It’s a real sad story.
“But, it’ll be a great experience for any team that goes there. If you look at the size of the Club, it’s meant for the Premier League so for them to be in League 1, it will give everybody the incentive to get there and beat them.”